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Thread: Big green Warchief/Sorceress of the Alliance romance. MUHAHAHAHAA!

  1. #1
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Big green Warchief/Sorceress of the Alliance romance. MUHAHAHAHAA!

    ... I really ought to finish one fic before I get halfway done with another through rabid writing frenzy.

    The following fic contains spoilers for the quest chain "Hero of the Mag'har" (Horde only, Outland). Spoiler: Thrall's real name is Go'el? GO'EL? I get that it means "to redeem" [from slavery], but it sounds like the name of some kind of Star Warsian ball game. Also like a northern Swede complimenting good electricity. But okay, if you say so, Blizz, I will not argue :D Besides, the conclusion of that quest line is made of win and awesome.

    <_<
    >_>

    I should be taken out the back and shot for writing most of this prologue while listening to Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand warbling "Tell him", shouldn't I? But it MAKES SO MUCH SENSE *crazy laughter*

    Beware, unbetaed and written over the course of several nights between midnight and two in the morning :D

    Oh god so many italics tags...

    Pardon the insanity, I've been wrestling with this for almost a year, so allow me to skip around cackling like a madwoman for a little while.

    Aaaanyway... it's a bit vague on purpose. Is it TOO vague? Oh, and proper timeline for quests based on when the players can take on said quests? Shamelessly thrown out the window.

    Diplomacy
    Prologue


    Moonlight.

    Poets like to think of it as romantic. Jaina thought that those poets had never laid wide awake in the middle of the night, watching the cold white light carve every shadow deep into the familiar items of one’s bedroom. It made everything cold and sharp.

    Especially the heaps of papers cluttering her desk.

    Jaina turned over on her back and stared at the ceiling instead. There was a shadow upon it too, cracked in the middle because of a gap between the curtains. After a while she pressed both palms against her forehead, elbows pointing at the opposite wall, trying to make the buzzing in her head stop.

    Pirates. Ships unjustly sunk soldiers paranoid shooting killing innocents.

    The Crossroads. Raids, raids, raids.

    The Shady Rest Inn. Mystery solved, but no closure and what now tensions rising…

    The Scourge. Arthas’ next move when where how?


    She groaned and rolled over as each subject swam through and pecked at her mind.

    Outland they say Kael’thas has gone mad it’s true-

    Have to stop the fighting how how when will it escalate?


    Kicking at the blanket, she only managed to twist it around her legs as her nightdress had slid upwards due to hours of tossing and turning. Grumbling, Jaina sat up to sort herself out. At least that was a momentary distraction.

    Once free she seated herself more comfortably and leant against the wall. It felt pleasantly cool against her hot forehead.

    Have to stop the fighting. Those zealous fools won’t listen, they have their own excuses.

    She fisted the cloth of her nightdress.

    Outside, the night remained peaceful. There was a distant sound of marching feet, the familiar sound heartening – the city guardians did not rest.

    But they are as scared as everyone else.

    So kill the fear. Kill the excuses. If there might be a way, why not try it? We have tried everything else.


    Taking in a deep breath she shook her head. She had been over this with herself, beating back that one crazy idea growing in the back of her mind. How long had it been there? No… don’t go there…

    Impossible.

    She kept telling herself that, along with several other select words in protests. Somehow, they sounded more hollow now than they had when she had first chastised herself. And the most alarming part was that she found it difficult to feel disquieted at this failing resistance.

    Or was it truly alarming?

    Jaina pressed a fist against her lips, trying to sort out her thoughts. The idea made too much sense to her, in its promise. She may have blamed her overheated brain for crazily flailing for hope, but… there was not just hope, but also the full awareness of the teetering problems as well as solutions.

    More than a feverish dream. She could make sense of it. But on the other hand, it could probably never be. Even if she could see the possibilities, somebody else would have to as well – and then an awful lot of people would have to be convinced that it was a good idea, most of them who definitely would never think so.

    But… she could see how it could possibly be done, over time, if only he would agree with her.

    She swallowed and tried to wrestle herself away from that line of thought. No, it could only be a pipe dream. It had to be, for sanity’s sake. And still, the thought of him not even agreeing in theory made her feel like choking.

    No. No, no, no. Think of something else. Anything is better than putting myself through this torture.

    Why risk losing a dear – admit it, the dearest – friend when there were enough troubles landing in her lap on an almost daily basis? Not enough with the monsters of the swamp and ocean, suspicion towards Brackenwall village, the Crossroads getting attacked by vigilantes, and now recently, a whole new race of people crashing in the north and trying to find their way around this world that was completely new to them. And everybody still trying to figure out what exactly to make of them.

    They made no secret of their painful memories of the orcs in former Draenor, but Jaina knew full well what Thrall and his shamans thought of the matter. Would it ever be possible for those two people to reach out to each other again? There was not only that troubled past, however, but the complicated now as well.

    If the draenei begin communicating with the orcs, the Alliance will judge them.

    Amazing, really, that the draenei had gotten so far as a place in the Alliance. Deep down in Jaina’s heart, a self-loathing voice wondered how long the human kingdoms would be able to handle such inhuman-looking allies. There were well written, borderline poetical letters lying on Jaina’s desk at that very moment, from Tyrande Whisperwind – never anything spoken out loud, but one did not need to read deeply between the lines to see the bitterness. The lone two seats out of seven in the Alliance Assembly was merely the tip of the iceberg – the elves faced small slights in the old world almost daily, and Light knew how the dwarves and gnomes felt. The elves at least had seats in the Assembly. Jaina did not even know if Tyrande bothered sending well-worded complaints across the ocean or if the High Priestess simply turned to a leader she knew as a personal friend.

    How long until a letter arrived from Prophet Velen, asking any variation of Why are your people treating us with such suspicion? What have we done wrong?

    And Jaina would not have an answer, nothing past a weak “humans have gone through a lot, please give them time”. Although, perhaps the draenei were prepared for difficulties in acceptance, having fled so far from home and borne witness to such atrocities. Suffered so much.

    And now they came here, and hoped for a chance of friendship and peace with people who would not even help each other against a force threatening them all. What a stroke of luck that they crashed so close to Kalimdor, and not the Eastern Kingdoms. At least, when they met with night elves and the people of Theramore, there would be people who remembered alliances with outworldly, humanoid creatures.

    Jaina truly wished to believe that her people knew what it meant to join hands with other races against a common foe. They had done it before. And, recently…

    She smiled slightly, the buzz subsiding. Even now, a couple of weeks after the fact, one could feel a sense of confusion and grumbling gratitude in the air.

    Panic at first, when the news came of the discovery of Onyxia in Stormwind, and her furious flight – into her lair in Dustwallow. But then, on the very day when a troop of Stormwind soldiers arrived in the harbor and prepared to set out on the hunt for the treacherous beast… the orcish messenger, grinning so wide his lower jaw could have fallen off.

    “Hear the words of Warchief Thrall…”

    Go’el, Jaina silently corrects.

    But she does not say so. The messenger goes on, reading from the document he carries.

    “… Son of Durotan, Lord of the Clans and leader of the Horde. Citizens of Theramore, know that our warriors have struck down the fearsome dragon Onyxia. Her head is perched atop a pole in Orgrimmar, and she can no longer threaten any being of this world.”


    Only an expedition to the lair, in order to see the proof with their own eyes, would convince both the Stormwind soldiers and the people of Theramore, of course. But that evidence could not be questioned, even if some tried.

    A lighthearted note softened the buzz even more. Dear old Aegwynn, true to herself, delivered a characteristic analyze of the situation once the two of them got away from the confused crowd to write a reply to Thrall.

    “It’s not quite as chivalrous of the knight in black and copper armor if he sends somebody else to slay the dragon and save the princess, I think.”

    Jaina softly laughed at the memory, despite the vague feeling of guilt those words caused then and now. The look that the former Guardian gave her in that moment did not help, either. If Aegwynn knew, then… but that woman saw everything, didn’t she?

    And she was back to what she had tried to get her thoughts away from. Yet, approaching it from this angle it offered respite instead of torture. It required little thought, even for the simplest man with little understanding for tactics, to see that the orcs had not been nearly as threatened by Onyxia as the people of Theramore. Oh certainly, there were the orcs and ogres in Brackenwall village, but they may as well just have ducked until the danger passed. The humans could not hide as easily. Stone walls around a city did not protect against dragon fire from the sky.

    And yet, the orcs had struck quicker than the humans, before the furious dragon could take her revenge on the closest humans she could find.

    Why then?

    Some of course said, mainly the Stormwind troops, that it was a trick. That the orcs conspired with Onyxia to get the humans to lower their guard.

    Right, others slowly replied. The dragon sure seemed to be in on it. That’s why there were so many orc, troll and tauren bodies burnt right into the ground. Not to mention that she let them cut her head off just to fool us.

    And back and forth they went, some claiming it wasn’t really Onyxia’s body and others wondering if it really mattered, because they had been scared of a black, female dragon – and one was definitely lying dead and beheaded in that lair. How many female dragons of that size could possibly exist in the world?

    And that slowly gave way for the exasperated sighs and knowing glances. Jaina heard more than one report about people talking about Hyjal. Unwilling to admit it to themselves at first, but…

    Good work, Warchief. You knew what you were doing.

    She relaxed against the wall. Yes, things were not so horrible right now, were they? There were actually a few reasons for optimism, and even joy. It didn’t have to be something grand in the eyes of the world, not by far.

    Barely stable on the ground, and his call rings in her ears the moment she appears on the butte.

    “Jaina!”

    He grabs her hands and she blinks, not at his force because he still remembers to be careful not to break her fingers.

    She has never, ever seen him so happy.

    It is beautiful.

    “Jaina,” he repeats, smiling like he has never done before, “I have a grandmother.”


    Even now she smiled. One hand rose up, fingers splayed out against the cool stone, stroking it slowly, idly. She watched the motions, drawing invisible circles on the wall. For just a little while her everyday troubles were completely gone, chased away by the memory of Thrall’s story and the warm swelling in her chest as she listened to him.

    It felt the same, remembering. Him watching her like that, still grasping her hands. Because she let him, because she held on to him too.

    Go’el… Thrall.

    His real name still sounded foreign to her, but she tried to use it whenever speaking to him later. It made his blue eyes lit up. All their problems seemed so far away then that she almost forgot herself in the middle of a sentence. Him laughing with her, soft and rumbling chuckles from deep inside his chest.

    But too soon, they always had to return their focus to the skirmishes between the Horde and Alliance, and his eyes darkened.

    The insane idea gently poked at her again. Thoughts of him were, after all, its most powerful weapon.

    You know you can stop the fighting, she told herself, staring up at the night sky between the curtains. Kill their reasons. Try it at least.

    It is insane.

    It is hope.


    Again Jaina wondered how long the idea had been with her. Now that it had taken shape and dug into her, it seemed to have existed in the back of her mind for years – even if she had only admitted its existence to herself during the last couple of months.

    And if she was brutally honest, it had been there for much, much longer.

    Ask. Suggest.

    At worst he’ll laugh
    at you.

    She closed her eyes.

    No. At worst I’ll lose his friendship.

    Throughout her life she had given up things even when it felt as if it tore her heart right out of her chest. Many a time during the war had she risked her life to win. To act on this insane idea should not be any more frightening than that.

    All my choices led towards this, didn’t they?

    And am I prepared to risk something so precious to me again?


    Always meeting in “secret”, the kind of secret everyone knew but never spoke of, always only snatching a touch to his arm and wonder when he would make a choice for himself? Always waiting for the next war?

    To never know?

    She straightened up.

    No. I will not wait and see. If I lose, then at least I tried.

    The relief this decision caused could not be described. Focusing on her breathing, Jaina laid down and closed her eyes. She only trembled in doubt briefly, but shielded herself with the steel hard determination that had driven her through two wars.

    Very soon, sleep overtook her exhausted mind and body.



    End prologue


    Next up:
    This is where Thrall started implausibly angsting in my notes the first three times I tried to write it (I know. WTFudge, mate?)
    A dozen dancing trolls! (No... that's much later. Drat.)
    The conventions, mon, they are bleeding.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  2. #2
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? The girl seems enthralled.

    First of all, a couple of nitpicks.
    along with several other select words in protests
    delivered a characteristic analyze of the situation
    “It’s not quite as chivalrous of the knight in black and copper armor if he sends somebody else to slay the dragon and save the princess, I think.”
    "I think" seems a bit incongruous with the rest of the phrasing. My first thought was using "methinks", but that may be too parodic. Perhaps cutting it out entirely?
    Kicking at the blanket, she only managed to twist it around her legs as her nightdress had slid upwards due to hours of tossing and turning.
    I loved that sentence. The twisting detail is just what's needed to ground the fic on reality, and I laughed at the idea of the nightdress sliding being fanservice, in text (i.e. self-canceling).

    Have you thought of writing only 12-2am while listening to that stuff? The writing was at times a step or two above your other wow fics, especially during the second third of the story. The last third was a bit more... normal (I could go at it paragraph by paragraph if you aren't bored). The heavy use of elliptical sentences and Jaina's thoughts in the first part had a mixed effect on me. While they set the atmosphere, some of these would seem strange to my thought patterns (e.g. elliptical repetition or the phrasing of some thoughts) and thus they hampered the immersion, but I suppose you base them on your thought patterns. Could Sapir-Whorf have been right?

    Anyway, it's not too vague. Thrall in a tux. Someone should write a blaxploitation fic with Thrall and his afro. Hold on, I got distracted. It was a bit funny reading the first full sentence, "Poets like to think of it as romantic.", after that Romanticism tangent. You, fictitious writer XD

    It should be stressed that I liked this. There are more objects of praise and nitpicks.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  3. #3
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    The girl seems enthralled.
    A Rigmarole approaches!
    Command? Defend.
    Rigmarole uses Pun of Doom!
    You take 3000 damage!
    You are dead.

    Hurk!
    Although I must say, that pun was more clever than horrible, like they usually are.

    Thanks for the input, Rig, I fixed those small errors and removed the "I think" for now, though I may change it to "methinks" since it rather fits the comment :D Also removed a couple or three ellipses.

    That repetive thought-pattern is inspired by some texts I've read where the character thinking is nearing a psychosis. I have to read that wiki article more closely when my brain isn't mush, too, it looks interesting.

    With the hampering, was it the grammar or the flashbacks being in sudden present tense? That latter is something I've used before, but those have been much longer flashbacks and maybe it doesn't work so well in shorter bits.

    Haha, I wasn't actually considering that it was fanservice to have Jaina show off a fair bit of leg in your dirty lil' minds. We'll have to have a shirtless Thrall later on for the ladies. This is after all the fandom where the fangirl cry is "Male trolls are HAWT!" (well, they are... oddly.)

    I'm very curious about what you mean with the differences in the parts of the text, and what you mean with how I usually write these fics. If you feel you have the time then please do share some more of your thoughts. Don't worry if it's critical stuff, I have a thick skin when it comes to constructive criticism.
    And well, sleep depravation and corny music are my only drugs XD
    Last edited by Weiila; 06-03-2008 at 04:59 PM.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  4. #4
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    It was one pun in 2000+ posts and I still feel a little dirty.

    You're welcome; off we go!

    I actually like the present. It's a clear signal that you're getting the feed of the character's thoughts as he's thinking them and it is distinguishable from the past used in the main narrative. The grammar, on the other hand, seems to clash with my experiences (see next paragraph). I get the literary effect you're shooting for, but as an extratextual experience, not as an integrated part. Keep in mind that this could be subjective; just giving you my first reaction.

    On a reread, the absence of punctuation -where applicable- probably plays a part. It signals to me that the sentence is to be read as a string of thoughts and then it strikes me I couldn't think "when where how" and consider what the words are asking; they'd be just a list. Jaina could see them as a set, of course, or have thought through them multiple times so that her worries needn't do mental inquiries in the dead of the night.

    For instance, if spurred by the rest of the text, I could read a "when, where, how" and still think of it as a quick succession of entertained thoughts. The lack of punctuation can be a great tool for evoking a metaphorical feverishness, I'm not saying that you ditch it. I wanted to write some more about punctuation and repetition but "Raids, raids, raids" reads a little to close to "girls, girls, girls" and I can't keep a straight face.

    I said fanservice because I always visualise the text when reading fantasy (you'd be surprised how bare many fantasy worlds are), so I thought "Hey, if that was an anime, this would be Weiila doing the fanservice part" :P There may not be Hell, but I'm ever thrust to a convention with people doing yaoi with the characters I read in my childhood, I'll have totally asked for it. I bet Athos was into S/M. Anyway, shirtless Thrall & Troll please.

    I'll try to go into some extra detail tomorrow, if I'm not tired. Doing things you aren't obliged to do is sweet.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  5. #5
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    I'll keep all your advice in mind for the final draft, Rig :) Still waiting for my beta, she'll probably get back to me over the weekend, then I can really consider posting this beastie.

    If you meant Athos the musketeer in relation to that yaoi joke, it brings to mind the anime about The Three Musketeers... in a roundabout way. See, in that one Aramis was an absolute bishie, to the point of being described as "a man that looks like a woman" by other characters (God it was TEN YEARS since I watched this!). Absolute cliché uke material of course, despite being badass.
    At least until very late in the series, when Aramis got wounded and d'Artagnan opened his shirt to bandage the damage and... oops. Not "a man that looks like a woman" at all XD

    There will be shirtless trolls too... just not at the same time as shirtless Thrall.

    ...

    I'm going to stop pondering that sentence now.

    Anyway, time for chapter one! :D

    I have to purify myself by confession. This fic grew from a single line/scene getting stuck in my head, that demanded a story surrounding it. That, honored members of the jury, was to have Jaina tell Thrall "There is no man like you, not in any race".
    Actually, almost everything I write starts out like that XD I get an idea for a certain line or scene and then the rest of a story just comes together to fill in the blanks. Some start in the end, I believe Stephen King starts with a rhetoric question ("What would happen if a mother and daughter were trapped in a car by a rabid dog?"), and there was that detective story author who said "I just saw that tent by the river and thought, hmm, anything could happen there and nobody would ever know".
    The Weiila Writer is a creature of erratic behavior.

    Anyway, we move on to the first real chapter, and one very a-romantic romance. These are busy people with half a world and more depending on them, after all!

    Prepare to be floored, Warchief! Because the "help meee" Jaina is in another castle.




    Although the sun shone down in full force upon Durotar, the salt-scented wind on top of the butte could be pretty sharp. It pushed at Jaina’s blue cloak, not so much that it fluttered but gently pressed against her. Thrall had spotted her long before his zeppelin came close to the cliff formation rising from the landscape – a white and blue dot against the orange of the land. Standing there, watching the dirigible come closer and closer.

    A rare feeling for him, that somebody waited for him to arrive – normally people came to him and not vice versa.

    Seeing her from such a distance did beg the question however, how long she had been waiting and why. Normally when they met, he saw nothing on top of the butte until coming much closer. After all their “secret” conferences through the years, Jaina knew well how long it took for him to make it to the meeting point. If she teleported there so much more earlier than she had to, there must be some pressing subject she needed to discuss with him.

    It would not be the first time he wished the zeppelin could move a little quicker. Finally it moved over the butte, and he pulled the levers to make it hold its position in the air.

    Jaina gazed up at him, patiently waiting as he threw down the rope ladder and climbed down to her. Before he even left the deck Thrall had taken note of the dark rings around her eyes, and he was only half a breath away from letting go of the ladder and simply drop the last couple, three feet. Only the shaman’s self-control held him back from acting like a worried fool. A few more seconds would not change whatever problem weighed down on Jaina.

    “Good morning, Go’el,” she said the moment his feet touched the ground.

    Thrall turned around, concern cracking momentarily in a smile. No trace of exhaust could be heard in Jaina’s voice, and hearing her speak his real name had ever since the first time had a certain – alarming – way of making him momentarily lose sight of any troubling issues.

    “The same to you, Jaina,” he replied.

    She smiled a little.

    For some time after the debacle with the Burning Blade and the demon Zmodlor, he had travelled to their meetings together with a couple of Kor’kron Elites. Moments like these, however, were the reason he ceased bringing guards – speaking as friends and not leaders became impossible with a grim audience. To add, he felt foolish standing there with two fully armed guard, in front of the much smaller, lonely Jaina. Not only did it look silly – on the other side of the shield was the fact that if she wanted to kill them, she could easily do so with her magic. The zeppelin flew far out of range for any harmful spells cast from the ground below. What use did those guards have, aside from making the meetings far more awkward than they had to be?

    Had the Elites been there, he could not have looked at her and spoken as he did now, turning serious. As Warchief there were things he could not allow himself to do – showing concern for a human, even one honored by his people, was one such thing. But here, alone with Jaina, the Warchief of the Horde was only a part of him.

    “What is the matter?” he asked. “I see you’re concerned about something.”

    It was like a hunter giving away his position to the gazelle he had been tracking. Jaina bit her lower lip, glancing aside as her body tensed. When Thrall stepped closer in alarm, however, she looked up and shook her head.

    “I’m a little overworked, that’s all,” she said. Only a strained smile could have made this lie more obvious.

    Thrall frowned, something that tended to have a very immediate effect on people. It worked this time as well. Jaina cleared her throat and tried to relax.

    “Very well,” she said. “I’ve been… there’s a lot going on right now, that’s all. This guerrilla war situation is just a few steps short of complete war.”

    They had both said the same thing before, over and over, sometimes with different words but the same meaning. Thrall slowly nodded, scowl dissipating. Still waiting for her to admit what the real problem was, but he could see that she would eventually tell him when she was ready.

    “As ever,” he said, then touched her shoulder, smiling faintly – at least, an orcish version of ‘faintly’. “But let me remind you that ever since the Dark Portal opened, there have been fewer reports on attacks on the Crossroads.”

    “What are they attacking instead?” Jaina tiredly asked, shaking her head. “They’re just relocating their hunt for quick glory, aren’t they?”

    Thrall hummed, smile dying. He could not deny that she was right, but had hoped to at least put her mind a little at ease. Something was obviously weighing heavily on her, something she hesitated to speak up about.

    “That’s right…” she said, sighing.

    She reached for a pocket in her cloak and pulled out a letter, heavy with Theramore’s seal in wax.

    “Would you have this delivered to the high elf captain Thalo’thas Brightsun?” she said.

    The name was familiar, but with all the things going on right then it took a moment before Thrall remembered this particular incident, especially since it was quite a while ago. He pursed his mouth and took the letter.

    “The Northwatch attacks?” he asked, to be sure.

    Jaina nodded, her eyes haggard.

    “Full apology of the attack that destroyed his ship.” She rubbed her forehead. “At this point I don’t care if he truly drove those warriors to beat up the guards at Northwatch. All but one in his crew got killed. My soldiers thought it was another pirate ship, but-”

    Once more she sighed and looked up, pointing at the letter. When she spoke again, her tone became businesslike.

    “I offer him a new ship as amends. We’re going to need better wood for that than can be found in Dustwallow. Would it be possible to buy enough from your side at a humane price?”

    “I can pull a few threads.”

    He would gladly have given her the materials if asked, but ships were expensive even to a city state and good wood still fetched a hefty price. The need for it was not so acute as during the founding of the new nations, but the constant fights with opposing sides and the beasts of the lands kept up repair work at all times. There was also the growing farming communities in the Barrens. Further expansion into Ashenvale could solve Orgrimmar’s need for wood, but that was one of the things that Thrall tried to dissuade rather than persuade. The night elves would rightfully see that, and increasing damage to the ancient forest, as a declaration of war. Jaina was as fully aware of this as he was. She would never ask for that much.

    While Jaina gratefully nodded at his reply, Thrall pocketed the letter and looked her over again.

    “Have you been sleeping well?” he asked.

    “If I had a solution to a problem for every time someone asked me that lately…”

    The weak attempt at a joke faltered with her voice and she bit her lower lip.

    “No,” she finally admitted, looking away briefly. “I think too much.”

    He touched her shoulder again, and she laid her much smaller hand on top of his. It was a familiar gesture, but this time her fingers curled up in a fist.

    “Is there anything in particular?” Thrall asked.

    “Lately…” she started, but faltered again.

    Frowning, he leant a little closer. This wasn’t like her. Had the pressure of everything finally pushed her to her limits?

    “If there’s anything I can do to help, just ask,” he said.

    At that her lips twitched in a strange little smile. A wild look flashed past, but then she composed herself and straightened up.

    “Jaina?”

    “Yes, I’m sorry,” she said. “There’s a lot on my mind.”

    She glanced to the side again, but then looked him in the eye.

    “You’re right about the things in Outland giving us a breather, and some of us a little more,” she said, and this time she smiled warmly.

    He returned the smile, unable not to. It went beyond words for him, to have met his grandmother, to finally find a living relative, somebody who could tell him more about his parents than anyone else. Somebody who could tell him that he had a real name. As happy as that he could not remember ever feeling before, and he was eternally grateful to the Outland scouts who had brought her message to him.

    And then to tell Jaina, see her face lit up as he shared this story with her.

    “Do you want me to call you Go’el from now on?”

    “If you wish, then yes.”

    “Hmm… you’ll forgive me if I slip up a few times, I hope.”


    But now her smile faded, and so did his as she fell back into the serious look.

    “I fear that the hotheads will see to that the fighting keeps going on there and flows back out again, however,” she said.

    Thrall grimly nodded. One could already see it happening, in never ending vendettas heard in the arguments reported from both Orgrimmar and beyond. Things along the lines of “I just got word from my brother and he saw five humans and a couple of dwarves walking through our territory, just within sight of Falcon Watch! Let’s go teach ‘em a lesson!”. Then some humans would get furious about this and send messages to their friends on the other side of the Portal, and the friends would either join the battles in Outland or seek out a nearby target in Azeroth, and so on and so forth forever.

    Thinking about things like this, Thrall often wondered if the Burning Legion still thought that they had to do anything at all about the state of the world. The inhabitants were really good at creating chaos themselves.

    He shook off the thoughts and looked at Jaina, silently asking her to continue. It wasn’t the first time they discussed this, and it wouldn’t be the last either. Sometimes, it helped them find possible solutions to some of the problems they faced, but most of the time it was just an act of venting frustration to an equal. Jaina only ruled Theramore, but she always seemed to end up taking on a fair share of responsibility for the Alliance’s antics on Kalimdor – if not practically, then emotionally. Was it, after all, too much for her to bear? Considering what he believed her capable of handling, this seemed unlikely – yet what else could have driven her to this harried state?

    Her lips were almost as white as her dress, and he frowned deeper when noticing this. The hesitance to explain what was on her mind implied only something very grim indeed. Had something happened that she was scared to tell him? The Alliance?

    A thousand unpleasant possibilities ran through his head, anything between war and Jaina being under pressure from threats or blackmail. Nothing but something so serious would drive her to a state like this. A presumptive growl risked to form in Thrall’s throat, but he held it back – for the moment when he knew why it might be needed.

    “What is it?” he asked, brushing his thumb against her shoulder reassuringly.

    He saw her other fist clench at her side.

    “I’m going to say something outrageous,” she said in a strange voice. “Will you promise not to laugh?”

    “Of course,” he said, eyebrows rising in surprise.

    “Thank you.”

    Jaina breathed in deeply. Sweat glued a few strands of hair to her forehead, and he suspected that it was not only because of the sun.

    “Since things are a little more peaceful here for the moment,” she said. “I think, perhaps this is the greatest chance we’ll have in a while to reinforce the fact that Orgrimmar and Theramore aren’t enemies.”

    “Certainly,” he said, still surprised as he could not see what was outrageous about another official meeting between the two of them.

    The last time they met in Ratchet and signed the non-aggression pact, it had stopped the fighting in the Barrens and Dustwallow for at least a little while. Not perfect, and not as restraining as either of them would wish, but better than nothing.

    The spirits whispered, but he could not make out a single word. Only a sense of wonder.

    Jaina took in another breath.

    “I would- I suggest,” she said and cleared her throat before continuing, “I have a suggestion that could make fighting between our nations completely needless.”

    He blinked.

    “What would that be?” he asked.

    “To, that is to say, if they were no longer two nations, but one.”

    She stared at him.

    He stared back, lost on her logic.

    Then he did a double take, realized what she was actually saying, and stared at her again. Laughing at her was the absolutely last thing on his mind.

    For the first time in his life, the Warchief of the Horde was utterly lost for words.

    “Jaina…” he finally managed.

    Her head tipped sharply towards the ground.

    “It’s asking a lot of you, I realize that,” she said, speaking painfully quick. “Geographically-wise Theramore is inconvenient but we are the most important trading port to the Eastern Kingdoms. But I’ll understand if you don’t want to throw away that possibility to strengthen ties to some clan.”

    He grasped her other shoulder, shaking his head to make her stop talking. But although she looked up at him, the wild spark was back in her eyes and she did not fall silent. In the torrent of words, she flailed for whatever she had planned to say and now apparently had lost, and he could not catch his breath enough to pull his thoughts together. Nobody had ever so completely managed to knock him off balance with just a few words.

    “I told you it was outrageous, it’s just that, I’ve been thinking it over, don’t think anything else. It would be dangerous for both of us but it could at least put an end to the risk of it coming to war between us. It’s a political gamble, you know some consider Theramore to be the theoretical capital of the Alliance although Stormwind doesn’t agree, what it would mean for the factions-”

    The wild look spun over itself, growing more pained for every word falling out between her lips. Jaina stared up at him, suddenly silent – but she took in another breath, and realizing that she was just a second away from apologizing for being a fool, Thrall managed to unlock his tongue.

    “Asking a lot of me?” he said, much sharper than he had intended. “How can you say that?”

    She jumped as if stung. Inwardly wincing, he shook his head and held up a hand.

    “Don’t misunderstand,” he said. “I see your reasoning. But…”

    At the last word, Jaina’s eyebrows crashed downwards and her mouth scrunched up in a bitter non-smile. Thrall quickly went on.

    “… is that reasoning not truly the knowledge that my army could be standing on your doorstep at some point? Your people are scared, there’s no denying it.”

    The look in her widening eyes burned into him, but he clenched his teeth and went on.

    “Don’t you think I have pondered the same?” he asked. “But considering the danger my forces pose to Theramore, do you think I could demand of you to do such a thing?”

    He shook his head, fists curling at his sides as he looked away.

    Certainly, the Alliance would return an invasion of Theramore with full force, seeing as it was the one human stronghold in Kalimdor, but that did not change the fact that shortsighted members of the Horde liked to shake their weapons at the walls. Theramore would be the first to fall if the factions ever pitted against each other in full-scale war again.

    Both of them were fully, and agonizingly aware of this.

    It struck him only too late what he admitted in his second to last question, and in his mind he cursed himself.

    For a moment they stood in silence. The wind played in their hair and the hems of Jaina’s robe and dress, easy and uncaring about what was going on upon the butte. Far below them life in Razor Hill went on as usual, as oblivious as the wind. The orcs and trolls living in the town were so used to seeing Thrall’s zeppelin that they probably only took passing note of it these days.

    Their chins would have hit the ground if they even suspected what the discussion on the butte was about.

    “You,” Jaina finally started, “you think that I would sell myself for peace?”

    He met her gaze again, painful though it was.

    “I believe you are prepared to do anything you need to,” he said.

    “I’ll take that as a compliment for my personal strength,” she replied, rubbing her cheek.

    “It is.”

    “In return I can compliment your chivalry,” she said with some cold creeping into her voice. “Misplaced as it is.”

    The tone alone would have earned a growl if Jaina had been anybody else, because no one spoke to the Warchief like that. But this was Jaina, and therefore Thrall watched her warily instead of demanding an explanation.

    “Misplaced?” he said, not snarling.

    Nodding, she reached out and brushed her fingers against his arm. Often when she did so in the past he wished that she would not do such small, tender things because it was so difficult shaking off the memory afterwards, when he had to focus on other matters. And her doing such things allowed him to touch her shoulders, and knowing that was fine with her he could not keep himself from doing it. Now, he wished she would cease more than ever, wondering if this would end in an argument that would kill all possibility of further meetings and little touches.

    No, never. She meant too much to him, he could not allow that to happen.

    “You misunderstand my reasoning,” Jaina said. “True, it would protect my people from the Horde. It would not kill our people’s distrust for each other, not at once, but they could no longer demand preparation for war. But…”

    She frowned, then more glared rebelliously at him than watched him.

    “… all that is on a political level, not a personal one.”

    It took a moment before Thrall reacted, because her words sent a wave of emotions crashing through him. Disbelief was the first to hit, giving way to a senseless stitch of anger at how she insisted to try deluding herself and convince him against the obvious, when he had spent so long trying to reason with his own fruitless feelings. But that passed quickly, killed off by the honest look in her eyes. Wonder made it out last.

    This did not mean that he was won over. Disbelief still held a tenuous but real grip of him, even as he struggled with a hot, feathery tightening in his chest.

    Shaking his head, he raised his hand in front of her face. The fist, when he clenched it, was almost as big as her entire head.

    He had grown up among humans – he could understand their ideals of beauty, even if he, like all other orcs, would be hard-pressed to actually find any random human woman attractive.

    Any random woman. Even though he found Jaina pleasant to look at – even with her pale face, too light hair, too wide eyes, spindly little hands, and all that was just a shell over the too precious spirit that was Jaina Proudmoore and-

    He had to wrestle his thoughts away from where they were heading. Even with all his shamanistic and warrior training to keep his mind under control, right then and there he found it to be a difficult endeavor. He could not allow himself to feel any of this.

    Bottom line, he was fully aware how monstrous his kind were in compare to her kind.

    “Jaina, the fact that you are able to see past our differences for friendship’s sake has always meant a lot to me,” he said. As he went on, he used one finger to draw an invisible line across his chest to underline how wide it was. “But are you convinced that you would not be revolted by these differences in appearance if it came to that?” He finished by touching one of the tusks rising up between his lips. All those things that were considered attractive in the eyes of his own people but-

    “Now you’re insulting both of us,” Jaina said. Stepping closer, she reached up past his still raised hand and touched his cheek.

    That was new.

    “There is no man like you, not in any race,” she softly said. “I don’t know what else I can say to convince you.”

    Thrall watched her face. Slowly he lowered his hand, brushing the thumb along Jaina’s arm and finally curling his fingers around her waist – covering a considerable portion of her back. There was no hint of a wince at any point as he did so. Instead she smiled, flat, white teeth showing between her lips.

    “I thought I heard you say that you had wanted to bring this up yourself,” she said.

    He nodded slowly, and it stroke her pink fingertips against his green skin. Of course he had contemplated it, deeply so, but for the reasons he had told her he could not have voiced those thoughts. Even if he had, and she agreed, how could he have lived with himself – ever wondering if the risk of war had not pressured her to leap for a solution that revolted her? He had already had her father killed, what more damnation could he bring her?

    But this was all her idea, freely given.

    For as long as he could remember, he had loved Tari. That Jaina reminded him of her may have made it easier for him to become her friend in the first place, but it was long since their friendship needed that clutch.

    He still loved Tari, always would, but she was gone. Never had he blamed her for choosing the safety of her family over fleeing with him to save herself, only never forgiving himself for failing to protect her. Now Jaina looked up at him, waiting, another person completely. Other choices, no less painful, but made and faced with bravery and strength few others would be able to pride themselves with. Beyond her strength, what the two of them had shared ever since the last war – hours of discussions and shared worries, arguments, exchanged insights.

    Not Tari – not equal to her, not worth less, not worth more. So different that comparing them was unfair to Jaina. She meant far more than a mere reminder of another woman.

    He had thought about all this many times, because as leaders there were certain expectations of both Jaina and him. Completely valid expectations, but he had not made a move to meet them because he could not think of anyone more worthy. Some would certainly call it tragic, yet it was the simple truth that he knew no woman amongst his own people who measured up to Jaina. Not in any quality.

    And she was known among them as a human who had chosen an orc over her own father.

    Not only that (all that) – she had the sheer gall to throw all conventions out the window and propose to the Warchief.

    The spirits seldom spoke clearly.

    Now they said Yes.

    Or perhaps, it was not so much the spirits’ voices, as his own. Difficult to tell, and perhaps it was not so important who spoke the loudest, in the end. Thrall breathed in deeply.

    “Well then,” he said, sounding worlds calmer than he felt. “We better discuss how to go about this in detail.”

    He knew that Jaina held true to the philosophy that mages with strong emotions were dangerous to themselves and all those around them. Therefore, she prided herself with keeping her feelings in check.

    But now her face lit up from within, and her arms were around his neck before he realized it. She leaped to reach, leaving her feet hanging above the ground and he instinctively pressed both hands to her back to hold her up – somehow remembering to be careful not to crush her against his armor.

    This was definitely new.

    “Oh, pardon me,” she said with complete dishonesty and laughter trickling into her voice.

    “I forgive you,” Thrall replied in turn.

    Jaina let herself slide back to the ground, but she remained standing closer than she ever had before, hands pressed to his breastplate and his arms at her back. Her eyes twinkled. He could not recall ever seeing her like this, almost like a girl, but not quite. No, not a girl, but a woman who had steeled herself so long that a crack in her shell of worries and stress simply blossomed.

    Not girly. Mischievous might be the word, joyously so, and the darnest thing he’d seen in his life.

    “Please, do tell me how many rules I broke,” she said.

    In all honesty it would be easier to say which rules she had not broken, but they were beyond the point where that mattered.

    “It’s not unheard of women asking,” Thrall said. He left it unsaid that nobody had ever heard of any Warchief being proposed to as opposed to choosing his wife. “Although, it is customary to go on a courtship hunt together.” Grinning, he nodded his head towards the north. “But I believe we can regard that as done with after what happened on mount Hyjal.”

    “No, no, no…”

    Jaina made half a motion as if to move away. Thrall’s muscles immediately tightened to keep her where she was, even though he did realize that she meant to deliver a joke. She looked up at him with an entirely earnest expression.

    “We should not disregard every convention there is. Which dragons do you want killed?” she asked, just as seriously.

    For a moment he stared at her. Then he threw his head back and laughed like he hadn’t done in far too long. She laughed too, leaning her head against his chest.

    Still smiling they sat down to discuss the more practical implications this arrangement would entail. As much hope for peace their decision may hold, it might just as well spell political suicide for at least Jaina. Thrall’s position allowed him a whole lot more freedom than her – few would loudly dare to challenge his sanity, and through that, right to rule. Jaina, on the other hand, would surely face protests from large part of the Alliance.

    The risk had to be considered, that even her own people might rise up against Jaina because of this.

    “I don’t believe they would do that,” she said in comment to her own thoughts on that matter, but her tone was grave. “They probably won’t like it, and it will take time for them to adjust to the thought, but they should remember what happened in the war. And when my father…”

    She trailed off, staring at her lap. Thrall sighed and nodded in understanding. It would have had come to that subject eventually. That his troops obediently had done as little harm to Theramore itself as they could, did not change the end of the battle. Inevitable as it had been.

    They had both done what they had to do, but it would always hang as a shadow between them.

    And yet, if Proudmoore had been alive, he would have had the final say in the matter of who Jaina married.

    She shook her head and looked up.

    “Let’s not go there,” she said. “The important thing is that my people remember Hyjal, not to mention the fact that your people cleared out Onyxia for us.”

    That the subject of her father got steered clear of was definitely a relief for both of them. For now at least, on an unspoken agreement they chose to ignore the existence of her brother Tandred and what he may have to say on the matter.

    “Yes, but what of the rest of the Alliance?” Thrall said. “Some will question Theramore’s place in it because of this.”

    Jaina grimly nodded. The other kingdoms would not take lightly upon the crucial port town – invaluable for the trade and being the one human stronghold on Kalimdor – making such a turncoat move in the political game.

    “I believe that we might get Tyrande’s support on this, if not her blessing,” Jaina said.

    “A personal kind of support, perhaps, but I cannot hope for a political one. Not with the struggle for Warsong Gulch.” Thrall rubbed his forehead, growling. “The Outriders are so wrapped up in their private war with the Sentinels that they won’t let it go no matter how many times I summon their leaders to shout at them.”

    He despised speaking of it, but that, like the underground slavery and the Burning Blade, remained poisonous weeds right under his nose, which he had not yet managed to rip out completely. Many times in the past, Jaina had heard him vent his frustration about it – she was one of the extremely few who ever got to see that side of him.

    Now she nodded.

    “Yes, but it is something,” she said. “As for the draenei, they are still building their new lives on Azeroth. But, maybe eventually…”

    “Indeed. That would be a blessing.”

    The draenei’s shamanistic knowledge would be invaluable, just as their connection to the Naaru and willingness to fight against the Burning Legion. Yet, nobody could ask of them to put aside their bitterness and horrid memories of what the orcs had done to them on Draenor. The fact that some of their shamans joined forces with orcs, trolls and taurens of the Earthen Ring offered some hope, but…

    Thrall shook off those thoughts and looked at Jaina.

    “Perhaps it would be wise of you to play on my reason for that initial refusal,” he said. The look on her face was that of confusion. True, they had strayed far from that subject, and she did not at once manage to leap back to it. He hurried to make himself clear. “Let the Alliance think you chose between this or war.”

    “Play a martyr for peace?” Jaina asked, frowning.

    “Not to your own people, of course, but hint at it in your messages to the Eastern Kingdoms.” He held up a hand when it looked like she would shake her head. “No, it is better that way. Few of them think highly of me as is, it would not harm you.”

    After a moment she nodded, although not looking too pleased. But she had to realize, too, that if the rest of the Alliance thought that this was an act of convenience or need for social stability, they might have an easier time accepting it. Better to be thought a sacrificial lamb than a prostitute. The mere thought of that made his hands curl into fists.

    Over an hour later Thrall had to break it off, knowing that he could not stay away from his seat of power for too long. Jaina agreed, but she was as anxious to keep discussing the matters as he was. They had barely scraped the surface of all the things that would have to be dealt with, and how to deal with them. But at least, although Jaina did not have suggested answers to all of his and her own questions, she had enough ideas to prove how much thought she had already poured into the whole project.

    They parted, but with a promise to meet the next day and continue the private conference.

    ***

    Only once Jaina was back in her own rooms in Theramore, and her head had begun to cool off from the madness – indeed, wild hope, chilling fears, joy and a thousand other emotions spinning through her head, only one step from insanity – only then did she remember that she had forgot to ask one important question, and it froze the grin on her face.

    Something so small but so important to the culture she grew up in – even stricter than normal for her, a woman of such a fine family line. Something so small, so ridiculous even, but not dismissible and it had haunted her only in its current form in peaceful times. There had been no time for it before, not when her life took plunges – I will be a mage, a scholar dedicated to study and magic to We may not be alive tomorrow and onwards through We are alive and building a new home.

    She stared out of one of the window of her chambers, without really seeing anything. Unwittingly, one of her hands went to her stomach.

    Only after the chaos she found herself the owner of her own throne, and with that, being a person who was expected to eventually produce an heir who could sit on that throne later on.

    Before that, she had only been haunted by regret and bitterness, and the memory of sweet whispers, of fingertips and warmth that had turned colder than ice. Both of them young and foolish, knowing they were as good as betrothed – it would only be a few words away, the match was suitable even in a politician’s eye – but duty called him, and magic her. And then he turned into the greatest evil to walk Azeroth, baring Archimonde and his ilk.

    Bitterness and regret being mere personal torture, but with her current position the problem became a tangible… inconvenience to say the least. Before she may have pushed it aside and felt that she would face it the day she had a suitable suitor.

    And how long ago was it, young lady, that you could bear thinking of anyone but him touching you?

    But knowing Thrall, her gut feeling said that it wouldn’t matter at all to him – oh, and his concern about their physical differences almost made her laugh now, if she only had not been so busy working up more anxiety for the cauldron of worries. Back on the butte it made her angry at first, but for shame, Warchief…

    ‘You’re telling me with a straight face that you don’t think I’m ugly?’ That’s what you wanted to know, wasn’t it?

    Bulky, green, towering, covered with scars, intimidating at the slightest tightening of blue eyes, black hair so heavy and thick you might make rope from a handful of strands? Yes. Hideous? No. It was not seeing through appearances to find the beauty within. It was only a question of getting used to the physical differences.

    To anyone else she may have found some way to slink out of this small but infinitely annoying predicament her younger self had brought her into, but… she would not, could not lie to Thrall.

    He probably wouldn’t care. But then again, she had no idea how orcs valued virginity.

    Damn it all.

    Jaina did something she had not done for years, and bit on a nail. There was that problem, and the issues relating to it, that she was in no state of mind to ponder right now.

    You can’t bear thinking of anybody else touching you but it still scares you to think of it and that was what he really meant and you know it.

    He would rather treat you like a leper than lay a finger on you if he thought you didn’t want him to.

    There is an unknown number of half-orcs living in this world. Not all of them were conceived through atrocities. But what lives do they live?


    Jaina strode quickly through the room and sat down by her writing table. Gritting her teeth she pulled up an empty sheet of paper in front of her. To list all the issues Thrall and she had discussed today might help her sort out her thoughts, something she sorely needed.




    I've searched through lore and I'm stumped on what Jaina's title as Thrall's wife would be. He'll be adding "lord of Theramore" (they're going to looove that :D) to his already long list of titles, but all I can think of working for Jaina is "wife of the Warchief", which is fine but a little clunky. Fits the culture though, I suppose.
    There's that female goblin in Tanaris (why do I remember this kind of stuff?) who collects pirate hats and without success tries to figure out a female equivalent to Warchief, so I suppose there isn't one. But I'm open for suggestions.

    Next up: Every man on and off the planet have their mind in the gutter
    Revenge of the pretty-boy
    You know he always wanted to be a creepy ass
    We recieve word that no less than 100% of long-eared blonds with green eyes and nifty red robes oppose this match. OH SNAP. (Though one has to sympathise a little - first she choses Arthas over him,* and now an orc. Ouch.)
    I have absolutely no intention of turning this into a merry game of "kidnap the bride" though. Or "kidnap the bridegroom". Though it might be fun to see some try and fry.


    *Arthas: ::when Arthas and Kael’thas meet:: Are you still upset that I stole Jaina from you, Kael?
    Kael’thas: You’ve taken everything I’ve ever cared for, Arthas. Vengeance is all I have left.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  6. #6
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    So, I read "I have to purify myself by confession." and I'm sure the second part of the fic has a Victorian-era atmosphere and Jaina will begin whipping herself because her granddad tended to swine, or something.

    You're a fast writer. I was thinking of doing some of the first part and here's more, oops. Anyway, here are my reading notes (not html-quoted, it'd be too much):
    ***
    A thousand unpleasant possibilities ran through his head, anything between war and Jaina being under pressure from threats or blackmail. Nothing but something so serious would drive her to a state like this.

    When you've got demons at large, threats are to be expected, but blackmail seems funny considering her magical power. Perhaps something along the lines of political worries?
    ***
    “Geographically-wise Theramore is inconvenient but we are the most important trading port to the Eastern Kingdoms. But I’ll understand if you don’t want to throw away that possibility to strengthen ties to some clan.”

    It's nice seeing Jaina being so politics-minded about it. By the way, the change in POV, in addition to her decision, makes her seem a lot more collected compared to part 1. Perhaps you could try working in a couple of sentences in pt. 1 before the end that show her "getting her act together"? It's a fine line, though, not to break the Romantic character of pt. 1. Pt. 2 is the business part :P
    ***
    The wild look spun over itself,

    Is this even possible?
    ***
    “It’s asking a lot of you, I realize that,” she said, speaking painfully quick.
    [...]
    “Asking a lot of me?” he said, much sharper than he had intended. “How can you say that?”

    There was something there but I forgot. Consider it a placeholder, in case I manage to jog my memory.
    ***
    “In return I can compliment your chivalry,” she said with some cold creeping into her voice. “Misplaced as it is.”

    Perhaps "she said, some cold creeping into her voice"? Makes it sounds more like an ongoing action.
    ***
    giving way to a senseless stitch of anger at how she insisted to try deluding herself and convince him against the obvious, when he had spent so long trying to reason with his own fruitless feelings.

    Oh, Orcie has self-image problems. Cuute. XD
    ***
    flat, white teeth showing between her lips.

    Magic dentistry, I bet.
    ***
    He nodded slowly, and it stroke her pink fingertips against his green skin

    ;)
    ***
    “We should not disregard every convention there is. Which dragons do you want killed?” she asked, just as seriously.

    I like the way this sounds. "How many people for the banquet? Which dragons do you want killed?”
    ***
    “The Outriders are so wrapped up in their private war with the Sentinels that they won’t let it go no matter how many times I summon their leaders to shout at them.”

    -Didn't I tell you not to kill Sentinels? Bad, bad boys!
    -Daad!
    ***
    they might have an easier time accepting it. Better to be thought a sacrificial lamb than a prostitute.

    Why would she be thought of as a prostitute othen than a general "In your kitchen, woman! What, our boys aren't good enough for her" chauvinistic sentiment? Or perhaps I just answered my question.
    ***
    He probably wouldn’t care. But then again, she had no idea how orcs valued virginity.

    On a tangent, I read that a survey in France found virginity was quite valued as an "attribute" to the marriage. Le sigh.
    ***

    And doesn't Go'el sound close to Kael? XD
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  7. #7
    What is this I don't even pokefreak_85's Avatar
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    My first impression of that whole name thing was "You mean like Superma-oh wait, that KAL-el. Never mind." :P
    It's too <strike>late</strike>early for me to actually post anything intelligent right now. -_-

  8. #8
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Poke: Ha! But that's even closer to "Kael" :D I think my first reaction was "That sounds like an ear infection".

    Rig: I actually wrote this part of the fic first of all, but then added Jaina's nightly troubles as a real beginning. :) Further down I also have a couple of pages of trolls dancing (wohoo!) and a scene where Thrall pwns an emissary from Stormwind without lifting a finger ("Pardon me, was that too eloquent?")... but now we're at the point where I have to sit down and fill in the blanks.

    I'll make some things clearer as per your suggestions :) About that "prostitute" thing though, I had written "orc whore" first but changed it since it's from Thrall's point of view and he doesn't strike me as that crude. Though I suppose he doesn't have high expectations of what the Alliance may have to say about Jaina, and maybe the original wording is a bit better.
    (*Desperately trying not to make politically incorrect jokes about what Thrall might reply when someone from Theramore starts shouting "We will not stand down when your Warchief has forced himself on our Lady Proudmoore!"*)

    Re: Virginity in France. Well, uhm... maybe it's because it's neigh impossible to find virgins old enough to marry, these days, so it's sort of a privilege to find one? Guh. Either way, the world makes me sad.

    *rubs hands* Aaaalright, towards the wedding scene! ... whenever that gets done.
    Eh. Wedding. It pretty much goes like this:
    "May the Light bless this day of peace. You may, uh, kiss the bride."
    Before anyone has a chance to realize what's happening XD

    And now I really have to finish Remembering Grey soonish because good ol' Thomas will have reason to be around soon.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  9. #9
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    A few things I liked about the first part:

    First of all you give a sense of the place Jaina's in. You casually mention the bedroom when you're talking about the moonlight and then there's the curtains, the wall on which she leans, the twisted blankets. If you just mentioned once where she was and went on with her thoughts, there'd just be Jaina (in her computer graphics glory, as her appearance is judged familiar) in a white back ground, thinking. A single description that is not reinforced is as good as none. Perhaps you could work in a partial -not as in biased- description of Jaina?

    What works even better is that her mental anxiety is mirrored in her actions.

    Kicking at the blanket, she only managed to twist it around her legs as her nightdress had slid upwards due to hours of tossing and turning. Grumbling, Jaina sat up to sort herself out. At least that was a momentary distraction.

    She fisted the cloth of her nightdress.

    Jaina pressed a fist against her lips, trying to sort out her thoughts.


    These parts familiarise the character, making her human beyond the stereotype of a great wizard, and convey her anxiety and effort to think at the moment. After all, as we're talking about a human -and the other races are anthropomorphic too-, she should act like one, never mind that in her life calling elementals from thin air to bash demons is an honest day's work. Fantasy often relies on flash and bang, but fleshed out characters have more appeal. You don't have her destroying nearby encampments to cure her insomnia, so you probably agree. These parts I quoted before may not give any great insight into her, but as long as she acts like a normal human, that's a point gained.

    You follow that with the part about the Draenei, which is not only in-story political but also makes a broader point. After the "Knight sent his guild to kill the dragon?" you've got another humorous point with the "The Dragon sure played his role well" part, which seems to be more effective than the first one, because it shifts the emphasis from Jaina (me, me, ME! XD) and lets her subjects -other characters- a bit into the limelight (i.e. once again you go from the abstract to the concrete and let the part highlight the whole).

    I also like how you keep her in the room, interspersing descriptions like
    One hand rose up, fingers splayed out against the cool stone, stroking it slowly, idly. She watched the motions, drawing invisible circles on the wall.

    She relaxed against the wall.


    Perhaps there's too much made of that wall, now that I read it again, but it works nicely.

    True, Thrall is a gentleman. Three meters high, one wide, but gentleman nonetheless. I pictured their marriage involving T&J eloping, but that goes against the political reason for marrying. A dragon could crash the wedding anytime though.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  10. #10
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Again, thank you very much for your insightful comments, Rig. They're really helpful. And crunchy. Om nom nom- err, right. More text.

    Aaand now we get physical. Well, not really. Just theoretically physical. I don't do erotica. And nothing's gonna happen yet anyway XP
    Durr, I'm not gonna raise the rating to Mature for this on ff.net. Five bucks says somebody reports me for that. SAVE THE CHILDREN.

    And this is why I have to finish Remembering Grey. *waves at Thomas*

    Poor pretty-boy, just one misspelling of his nickname short of turning into Superman. ... now, Kael, that's really close to Go'el.



    “Tomorrow we announce it, then.”

    “Yes.”


    And so it would be – but far from the entire truth.

    “Hear ye, hear ye! Our honored Lady Proudmoore wishes to let one and all know that she will meet with the orcish Warchief Thrall and renew the non-aggression pact between Theramore and Durotar. The meeting shall take place in Ratchet, in the open for all to see, in four days’ time!”

    The criers went all over the city with the announcement, and a sense of excitement floated through the air. Not all positive, some suspicious of the orcs inviting the humans to a trap, and some shouting that the orcs deserved no non-aggression. Luckily, those seemed to be few in number, and not gaining much support. The overall reaction was, by the reports, that people thought it about time to have the hotheads of both sides reminded that there was no war. Most people did desire peace.

    Jaina stood in front of her throne as she listened to the soldier reporting these things, and wondered if everyone would still call her “our honored Lady Proudmoore” five days from now – or if “crazy woman” would be the kindest title she would carry.

    No, she told herself while thanking the soldier. He saluted and left through the open door. They followed me through an alliance with the orcs before. They have not forgotten. And if they have, I will make them remember.

    It would not be the first time she pulled people along by their teeth.

    Whatever guilt she felt at lying to her people had to be discarded. For safety’s sake, it was best for everyone that the meeting appeared to only be about the non-aggression pact. She and Thrall had agreed on that, nobody but them would know what they planned until that very day.

    But, secrets…

    There was still that something she had yet to tell him. The time never seemed right, because they always stayed in the political and social area of discussion, avoiding one part of their future relationship. She couldn’t tell if it was her fault, or his, or a silent agreement they never should have reached.

    Still it was there, when he watched her and she utterly forgot what she was talking about, had to back up, like a fool, and his mildly surprised smile every time that happened made it even more difficult. He never seemed to get so lost – but when it came to him, stumbling on a single word as she laid her hand on his said a lot. Just one brief moment was different.

    “Tomorrow we announce it, then.”

    “Yes.”

    He stands half turned, dark against the glare of the sun. A few wisps of hair has whipped free of his braids in the wind. The zeppelin waits.

    His hand suddenly offered, she steps closer. Big, warm hand at her back, he leans in, holds her gaze, heavy braids whispering against her shoulders and cheeks. Foreheads brushing, his skin feels a little rough, so acutely real she can hardly breathe, his hairline tickling her fringe. It’s simple, and intimate, and she doesn’t need his murmured explanation to understand what it is, but he offers it anyway.

    “With our tusks and fangs… orcs don’t kiss like humans do.”

    Fumbling little words. He might not have realized he should make himself clear, and he didn’t have to but he doesn’t know that. She reaches up around his neck, wanting to keep him there for just a little longer when both know that they need to return to their cities.


    Perhaps she could have told him then, but she would not have allowed anything to destroy that moment. Just standing there, in the sunlight, watching him climb up the rope ladder and take off, feeling the ghost of warmth.

    Four days. And then… what?

    She leant her cheek in a hand and closed her eyes for a second, trying not to remember too intensively. Even if her long sleeves hid them, hot goose bumps made it difficult to concentrate. A mage’s strict training in keeping her mind in check helped, but it was not the first time that day Jaina found her thoughts slipping back to that particular memory – it had taken over from that of the first day, when his arms closed around her. Her spine tingled from the part of her back Thrall had touched.

    “Lady?”

    Aegwynn’s voice called her back to the there and now.

    “Just thinking,” Jaina said, turning to nod at the two guards by the door. She had a feeling that her chamberlain watched her curiously, and didn’t feel like faking an innocent face right then. Doing that had never been something she was good at.

    One of the guards walked outside and let the next person waiting in the next room know that he could enter.

    “Emissary Southstone, my Lady.”

    The former paladin of the Silver Hand saluted rather than bowed in greeting, despite the fact that he – after a rather strange and winding path involving things such as befriending a troll after cutting off his arm – had changed from armor to a diplomat’s robe. Old habits died hard.

    “At ease,” Jaina said.

    He still stood at attention, body schooled in the military and never forgetting that fact.

    “The Warchief will be sending a representative to Ratchet today,” Jaina said, “I want you to meet with him and Gazlowe to discuss how to best deal with the meeting. We should hold it in the open space outside the town itself so that people can watch, but the goblins will want to know about security. Tell them that there will be Theramore soldiers to help them keep the peace, should they want it. I’m sure that the Warchief will offer to aid that matter as well. For my personal safety I will bring my Elite Guard, and I believe that the Warchief plans on bringing some of his Kor’kron Elites. I trust you to handle this, Thomas, but should you be uncertain of anything, let me know.”

    “Yes, my Lady.” He bowed his head, then straightened. “I have only one question for the moment. Four days is quite a short notice for such an important meeting. Knowing them, the goblins will probably suspect foul play connected to that. What shall I tell them?”

    Jaina managed to keep her lips from twitching. Foul play indeed, if one wished to see it like that.

    “Four days is enough time to spread the news to the nearest settlements,” she said, “but it’s not enough time for troublemakers to assemble a dangerously large troop.”

    He nodded with an understanding grin.

    After he left, she handed out letters to mages who would teleport to Darnassus, Stormwind, Ironforge and the Exodar, letting the Alliance leaders know of the meeting. There would be new letters sent in a few days, but she did this now to keep up the charade of the meeting only involving the non-aggression pact. Not even Tyrande would know the truth any sooner than everybody else. The outrage, when it came, would have no chance to get in the way.

    Four days, and then all hell would break loose. Or everyone would stand gaping for so long that they got time to get used to the thought. Trouble could, and would certainly, come later, but by then it would already have been done.

    Jaina grimly smiled to herself, hiding it behind her hand.

    Anybody trying to disrupt Thrall’s and her plans would find themselves frozen solid in a magical blizzard – if he did not smash their heads in first.

    ‘-‘

    Moonlight.

    Jaina stared at the ceiling. Old problems still helped to keep her awake, but the new worries drowned most of them out. At least, she had been prepared for these, had opened the door to them herself – and she knew that she did not face the problems for the future alone. They actually appeared manageable.

    Except that tingle up her spine. She shuddered, torn to the bottom of her being and hating herself for it, but when she thought of him, really thought of him she could not deny how different they actually were in appearance. How much bigger than her he really was. He knew it well, gazing down at her with concern flashing past. Yet they didn’t speak of it, as if they were both afraid.

    And even as she wrestled with her imagination not to go deeper, she thought of his forehead brushing against hers and the feeling of his hand at her back.

    Did he think of her like this as well?

    She bit her lower lip, pinching her eyes shut. Sleep would not come – she was wide awake.

    Finally she sighed and sat up, thrusting her feet into a pair of slippers. Standing up she grabbed her light, but warm morning coat from the back of a chair. A half burnt down candle stood on her desk, and she lit it with a small fire spell. Normally she would not have been so flippant with magic, but this close to midnight she had no patience for matches. The small flame did its best to counter the cold moonlight, casting warm shadows across the room.

    Jaina tiptoed over to one of the tall windows, pushing the curtain aside to look down upon Theramore. Torches lit the streets where guards marched, but beyond that only the moon and stars shimmered upon the black ocean. Torn clouds reached their fingers towards the white, swelling crescent in the sky, and the distant waves whispered all around the city.

    Peaceful.

    She wasn’t sure how long she stood there, lost in thought.

    A sudden draft caused that candlelight to flicker and she spun around, sensing magic. Only her strength of character kept her from crying out in surprise at the sight that met her.

    Kael’thas Sunstrider pressed a long, elegant finger against his lips.

    They stared at each other for a moment, and with some instinctual relief Jaina noticed how odd he looked. The dancing candlelight glanced over him without casting any shadow, and the red folds of his robe seemed illuminated by a light from someplace on the other side of him. He was not really there.

    Still Jaina remained on guard.

    “Kael?” she finally whispered, when he did nothing but watch her.

    He bowed his head in greeting.

    “Jaina. I apologize for intruding at this hour.”

    “It’s- quite alright.” She drew the morning coat a little tighter about herself. “I’ve been worried about you.”

    A smile touched his lips, reaching almost all the way to his eyes.

    “You have?” he said.

    She nodded, and it was honest.

    “Yes,” she said. “You were all horribly ill-used in the war. If I had known, I would have helped you.”

    “You could not have done much, I’m afraid,” he said, shaking his head slowly. Silky, blond locks swept about his neck and shoulders in the movement. “But I know you would have tried, and that I appreciate from the bottom of my heart.”

    “And now?” she said, maybe a little too quick. “Why are you here?”

    “Yes…” Never for a moment did he take his eyes off her. “Jaina,” he said, his voice soft and gentle. “Sweet Jaina, I allied with the naga because there was no other way. You don’t have to do the same.”

    She gave a start and narrowed her eyes, watching him suspiciously. Again he shook his head.

    “I have eyes that see far,” he said. “I know that you are being courted by the Horde’s Warchief.”

    “What are you saying?” she asked, shoulders rising and eyes thinning further.

    This, neither she nor Thrall had counted on. How much did the prince know, how much could he know? Yet he watched her with sadness in his eyes, not enmity.

    “Do not lay yourself in the arms of the orc, Jaina. I too thought he was honorable before, when hearing of his deeds, but then he allied with the Scourge.”

    “The Forsaken are not the Scourge,” Jaina said, but her own mantra sounded hollow. Truly, she had asked him how he could trust Sylvanas-

    “They are still no friends of the living,” Kael’thas said.

    “Kael…” Jaina steeled herself, shaking off the unease thoughts of the Forsaken always caused her. “I don’t say this happily, but what of your other allies?”

    Is it true that you are getting involved with demons?

    That was the real question, but he did not even flinch.

    “It is all to purge Azeroth of the Lich King’s taint,” he said. “Believe me, Jaina.”

    In her heart she wanted to, because there had been so many hours in the halls of the Violet Citadel, of discussions and tests, and him teaching her spells beyond the books, never seeing anything odd with her being a woman learning magic. A wonderful friend. However, too many strange tales from the Outland scouts, and her own instinct, told Jaina to be cautious.

    “It’s dangerous,” she carefully said.

    “I know that, fear not. But let us discuss that later.” He held out his hands. “What I came to say is this; please do not accept him.”

    He thought that this was Thrall’s idea, then. If so, he probably did not know the whole truth about what would happen in Ratchet either. Jaina looked away for a moment, planning her words carefully.

    “We need the non-aggression pact,” she said, looking back at him. “This guerilla war weighs heavily on his people as well as mine.”

    Pain flashed in his eyes, within the sadness. Seeing that she pursed her lips. Expressing herself such was to bait him, and he fell for it.

    “And what will he demand next?” he said, speaking low.

    His spies had not heard a single word, only watched from afar. This she knew for certain now. But although she had actually won by fooling him, it left a foul taste in Jaina’s mouth to know just what he thought she had done for peace.

    It would be what she had to bear, wasn’t it? This was what Thrall meant when he told her to let the world believe it was his idea. Princesses, princes, queens, kings, and common people throughout history married to ensure social stability. No matter what, she would be seen as following in the footsteps of those who bought peace and paid with their bodies. And Thrall would rather have half the world calling him a ravager, than her a whore.

    No… no, it wasn’t fair. He-

    She looked up when Kael’thas stepped a little closer.

    “Consider this,” he softly said. “I will return, and Quel’thalas will rise again.” His voice grew even sweeter. “The Alliance cast us aside, and I will respect my people’s choice to join the Horde. But for you, I would forgive what the humans did to us, I would work for peace between us all.”

    Her soul turned to ice when she realized what he was going to say. Eyes boring into her, he kept talking – voice wonderfully gentle, almost singing.

    “Hold him at bay, wait for me. I ask this of you, Jaina. Be my queen.”

    She looked at him, feeling dizzy. Him standing there, tall, proud, beautiful, glowing red against the shadows behind him. His skin was smooth and rosy, his hands not bigger than her face. He had no fangs, no tusks, in ever move, every breath graceful.

    “It’s a simple trick of mine. Stretch your fingers like this… no, pardon me…” His skin is incredibly soft, almost like silk, and she hopes he doesn’t see her blush when he gently pushes at her fingers. The library is silent, but there could have been hundreds of people and she would not have noticed. “There, it makes it easier to concentrate when casting this spell. Jaina?”

    Something screamed deep inside of her, something within her survival instincts and knowledge of magic. She breathed in sharply. Looking at him, she noticed a tiny frown creasing his forehead momentarily.

    This was something more than an innocent proposal.

    “Kael, I can’t, I’m sorry.” Shaken, off balance not only because of the shock of his offer. There was something else- no, he could not be using some mind spell to trap her, not him. He couldn’t.

    His eyes narrowed, not in anger but in more pain.

    “Jaina, do not for a moment believe I think you filthy,” he said, but a little too quickly.

    Her hands clenched at her sides. Oh, really?

    “It’s not that,” she said, turning away. The moment she no longer looked into his eyes, her head felt clearer. Realizing that, at first her heart sank in bitterness – then a cold rage flared up inside of her. “I… made a promise I can’t break.”

    Perhaps that was saying too much, but she had no time to think of something to say that could not clue him in on the truth. His widening eyes did not tell her whether he made a correct guess, neither did his words.

    “With what does he bind you?” he demanded.

    She clenched her teeth, looking straight at him. For what it was worth, she had to lead him astray again, could not risk him realizing what would happen in Ratchet. Looking at him now, she knew that he would rip up every soldier he could get his hands on to stop the meeting. At least, if he wasn’t sure, the plan may yet be pulled off without a catastrophe. Any later attack would not change the fact.

    “Nothing, Kael,” she said. “The Warchief is a close, personal friend.”

    He stared at her.

    “You cannot mean that,” he said. “What if people find out?”

    So he had not made a correct guess – yet, at least. Now if she could only point him further away, Ratchet should be safe from a desperate attack.

    “I would not have you or anyone else think ill of me,” she said. “You misunderstand, there is nothing foul going on between the Warchief and myself.”

    “But you’re saying that if he would ask that much of you, then…?” Kael’thas said, his eyes hardening.

    “If ever he sunk so low,” Jaina replied and raised her chin. “Then I would face that request.”

    “And you call that ‘nothing foul’?”

    There was no longer anything soft about his voice as he paced back and forth, waving his hands around.

    “You would chose that then?” he snarled. “His brutish embrace?”

    “There’s no need to be vulgar,” Jaina sharply said.

    “But there is!” He whirled at her, his long pointing finger aimed towards her chest. Her hands flew up in defense, but no violent spell crackled through the air.

    A hard knock on the door and a muffled call announced that the guards had heard the last, loud growl, but both Kael’thas and Jaina were deaf to this.

    “Do as you wish, miss Proudmoore,” the prince snarled. “But know that he will see you in my arms before he dies!”

    “Kael!”

    The door slamming into the wall accompanied her furious snarl, and two guards rushed inside. They stopped dead, staring at the elf prince with their swords drawn. He looked over his shoulder, giving them a bored look before turning his smoldering gaze back to Jaina.

    Then, scoffing, he disappeared without a trace.

    “You-!” Jaina hissed in a breath, hands half raised. If she could have, she would’ve dragged him back, not only as an image, and let him have a piece of both her mind and magic.

    “My Lady, what on earth was that?” one of the guards asked, the two of them looking around nervously.

    Jaina growled, but closed her eyes and forced herself to calm down at least momentarily. Looking up, she nodded at the two men.

    “It was merely an illusion. You,” she looked at the one on the left, “go and tell the chamberlain to come here at once.”

    He hesitated, but saluted and hurried off. His comrade remained alert, sword out although he probably realized that there might not be much he could do if the strange visitor returned.

    “My Lady, was that not-” he started.

    “Prince Kael’thas, yes.” Jaina glared at the part of the floor where the elf’s image had stood. Turning back to the stunned guard, she shook her head. “Stay here. I’m going to make sure that he’s gone.”

    “Of course, my Lady!”

    Jaina was already closing her eyes as he spoke, concentrating. Her will itself spread out from her, sweeping across the room. In her mind’s eye she saw the outline of herself and the guard, teal shapes against the bleak, grayish furniture – and a shimmering line where Kael’thas had been when he disappeared. But that too was fading quick, dissipating before she could grasp for it. Nothing else.

    Well, just an illusion could not do much under normal circumstances, but she had wanted to make sure. Opening her eyes, she nodded to the guard.

    “He’s gone. I don’t think he’s coming back, either,” she said.

    After a moment’s hesitation, he sheathed his sword. Yet despite that, and her words, he remained tense and ready should anything else happen.

    “But, my Lady, what did the elf prince want?” he asked.

    Jaina pursed her mouth.

    “He saw fit to voice discontent with our attempts to avoid war with the orcs,” she said.

    “Why would that be any of his business?” the guard sputtered, loyalty to Lady and country overriding proper behavior. He immediately gave a start when he realized this, and hurriedly added, “I beg pardon, my Lady.”

    “It’s alright,” Jaina said and grimly frowned. “I agree completely.”

    Running steps in the corridor announced the arrival of more people, and Aegwynn hurried inside – wearing only a scarf wrapped over her shoulders and night gown, her gray hair a tussled mess. Behind her were not only the guard who had gone to fetch her, but four more worried soldiers.

    “What’s going on here?” Aegwynn asked, waving at the first guard. “He keeps babbling about elves…”

    “Gentlemen, I need to discuss this matter with the chamberlain,” Jaina said, cutting her off and looking at the guards. “We will call you if needed.”

    They all saluted and left, closing the door behind them – albeit while giving her uncertain looks. With a scowl on her face Aegwynn walked closer, so that she and Jaina could speak in low voices – because although the guards were worried about them, the chamberlain knew a situation that should not be overheard when she saw one.

    “What exactly happened, Jaina?” she asked.

    “He merely spoke with me through an illusion, but it seems prince Kael’thas believes I sleep with the Warchief to maintain peace.” Jaina gnashed her teeth so hard it was probably audible. Then the words poured out of her mouth in a hiss, the frustration spilling over under Aegwynn’s disbelieving stare. “How dare he speak of Go’el like that! Of me!”

    The old woman’s eyes narrowed, then closed.

    “And here I believed that the elves only thought of flowers and stars,” she dryly muttered. Of course she knew that this was far from the truth, but the sarcasm did its work to satisfy something within Jaina’s rage. Enough to make her take hold of herself and control her temper.

    It still burned, however, maddeningly close to shame she had no reason to feel.

    Aegwynn’s will swept past like the tickle of a feather, double-checking the room for any trace of leftover magic. Then she opened her eyes and nodded in satisfaction.

    “But, how did he get that idea?” she asked, frowning as she watched Jaina.

    Foreheads brushing…

    Damn it all.


    “If he had spies watching our meetings,” Jaina said through her teeth, “I suppose they may have jumped to conclusions.”

    “So,” Aegwynn said, wrinkles twisting playfully around her wry smile. “Is that it? Are you planning to elope with your green knight?”

    But the chamberlain’s eyebrows shot upwards when Jaina gave a start at the joke. They stared at each other for a moment. The ex-Guardian said nothing, but her eyes spoke the question almost as loudly as her voice could have.

    Jaina looked away for a moment. But she was angry, and it would feel so good to let somebody else know the truth, somebody who could be trusted. She didn’t know how Aegwynn would react, but she could brave a guess. Turning, with something on her lips that was a rebellious grimace rather than a smile, she spoke in a low voice.

    “Elope… no.”

    Aegwynn watched her for a moment, as if to make sure that Jaina wasn’t joking. Then the old woman chuckled, hoarsely and warm. She stepped closer, murmuring with the guards in mind.

    “This is absolutely rich,” she said. “I trust you’ve talked it through properly?”

    “We’ve met a few times and tried to plan for all eventualities,” Jaina said, nodding. But inwardly, she winced.

    Jealous elf princes had been included in the part about “our enemies will either hate this or use it against us” – however, neither of them had counted on somebody finding out beforehand. This was not good at all. Jaina spun around, hands clenching.

    “I have to warn him about Kael’thas…”

    She didn’t see Aegwynn’s amused, but gently slanted smile. Almost anyone else would have said something along the lines of “right now?”. But the aged sorceress, who never sat inactive during her time as Guardian, simply let her silence speak – and did nothing to stop the events from unfolding.

    The rune which Jaina used to call Thrall to their meeting point on the butte laid on her bed table, and now she snatched it up. No need to focus, thoughts of the Warchief swam in her mind. His rune probably flared up instead of glowed. She held hers for a second, then put it down briefly and grasped it again. If he saw the rune shine twice in a quick succession, he should understand that something unusual was about. She could think of no other way to quickly warn him of what she intended.

    After a moment the rune she held glowed in reply, casting a pale light over her chest and arms. Grimly, Jaina closed her eyes and concentrated, mentally reaching for the spell connecting the item in her hand with the one Thrall currently gripped. She didn’t know where he was, she had never been in Orgrimmar, but she could trace the magic and follow it.

    Furious at the prince and worried about what he might be planning, she hurried onwards without hesitating. Before Aegwynn’s eyes, the Lady sorceress flashed out of existence and was gone.

    Still smiling, and shaking her head, Aegwynn folded her arms across her chest.

    “Shouldn’t you put on something more than a nightdress and a morning coat first?” she mildly asked the air. Then she turned and went towards the door, to tell the guards some lie about Jaina taking off to see the mages of Dalaran – or some other plausible rot – about this issue.




    *highfives Kael'thas* Excellent job!

    That's not all of the next chapter, but I'm looking for input on whether Kael's being too cliché here.

    Hell hath no fury like a pretty-boy scorned...

    The next scene has a conversation so awkward that I have to write it in bits and pieces. Mrrr. Writing an embarrassed Thrall is rather disconcerting. Especially if he hasn't got a shirt on.
    Ohohohooo!
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  11. #11
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    You're welcome. The sound of my crunchy comments is what makes them irresistible. Now with reduced salt and with paprika flavour.

    and some shouting that the orcs deserved no non-aggression
    This captures the spirit of some of the reactionaries nicely. Them damn'd orcs, getting our jobs and our women.

    The overall reaction was, by the reports, that people thought it about time to have the hotheads of both sides reminded that there was no war. Most people did desire peace.
    Seems a bit awkwardly phrased. Perhaps cut "The overall reaction was" and shuffle the rest of the two sentences.

    Jaina stood in front of her throne as she listened to the soldier reporting these things, and wondered if
    "these things" is superfluous. It may also make clear that the info in the past paragraph is by way of the soldier reporting, allowing you to cut "by the reports".
    Doing that had never been something she was good at.
    Wha, not perfect? My suspension of disbelief is shattered. And what's with the lack of spoiler tags? Now I know Jaina doesn't order Thomas drawn, hang and quartered. (j/k)
    Normally she would not have been so flippant with magic
    Is there something in WoW hinting to that attitude? In my mind people in WC would fire off spells as soon as their mana permitted. (And why did the path-finding fail again? Where are my paladins?)

    “You would chose that then?” he snarled. “His brutish embrace?”
    Brutish embrace, that's great. Kael's a Victorian aristocrat elf after all. It seems a bit weird that Jaina is prone to suggestion, when she has, supposedly, already rejected him, but, while Kael doesn't seem to take no for an answer, it's nice how he walks on the path of Lucifer (with a hint of Saruman); a higher, gentle being making an offer with the sole aim to save you and lift you up from the mud and put you next to him. Bonus point for leaving Jaina momentarily flabbergasted, here's realism for you.
    “And here I believed that the elves only thought of flowers and stars,”
    Heh.

    So Jaina didn't think of telling anyone her plan? Sounds like a good recipe for an impromptu rebellion. Considering Aegwynn's son served as the vessel of Sargeras, she wouldn't be fazed by J's marrying an orc. Especially if he saw his sculpted pecs. Die, Niven. Die.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  12. #12
    マホの探偵 Cless Alvein's Avatar
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    This is the <i>other</i> thread that I read in this forum
    ロウレット ロウレット

    ウ~ マホッ!
    ロ-ルケ-キサンデ- サンドイッチマンデ- 気分次第でいい
    期待半分 率イ-ブン 明日はこれから
    ネコとか (あれ!) すすきが (あれ!)
    手まねきしてる
    何もない (あれ!?) つまんない (あれ!?)
    今日はさよなら!
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    わたしが太陽 (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    緑の電車も (在来線!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    グルグルまわってく
    宇宙も 感星も ル-レットシアタ-
    あれ?
    Roulette Roulette

    Ooh~ Maho!
    Rollcake Sunday, sandwich Monday, depends on the feeling
    Expectations are half, odds are even, tomorrow's just begun
    Cats (Olé!) and silver grass (Olé!)
    Are beckoning
    Nothing to do (Olé!?), it's so boring (Olé!?)
    Good-bye for today!
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    I am the sun (Aye aye yah!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Like the green train (Service line!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Going in circles
    The orbit of stars and planets is a roulette theatre
    Olé?

  13. #13
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    (Back from weekend at the parents house in the heart of Sweden, homeland of red cottages (because that special paint is only produced in that area :D) and maypoles... not a good place for writings, so no more about that shirtless orc yet. Drat.)

    Rig: I've looked things over, and the most important change I did is to have Jaina and Thrall allow the news to spread that they have been meeting a lot lately, which helps to create rumors. It's to make people talk and suspect that there's something more about the upcoming meeting than just the non-aggression pact, in order to make the shock smaller and work against the risk of, as you said, impromptu rebellion. I mean, if a lot of people are going "I KNEW IT! :D" they might be less pissed off XD

    Cless: I know what that comment's worth coming from you ^_^ Whee! (Actually, I get flashbacks from Those Not Chosen while writing this...)

    Also, I found another good Thrall/Jaina fic. It's very dreamlike and I like the style, although there are a couple of weird things (not managing to teleport self to safety, Theramore guards following those kinds of orders from Stormwind and... uh... dying from a broken ankle? O_o But other than that, just beautiful.)

    I'd warn you about one of the most horrid things I've ever seen anywhere, in the depths of the Warcraft archive on ff.net, but that'll only make you go looking for it and I can't bear that. Urp...
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  14. #14
    マホの探偵 Cless Alvein's Avatar
    Join Date
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    That's why I hide myself from fanfiction.net and browse this forum instead :P
    ロウレット ロウレット

    ウ~ マホッ!
    ロ-ルケ-キサンデ- サンドイッチマンデ- 気分次第でいい
    期待半分 率イ-ブン 明日はこれから
    ネコとか (あれ!) すすきが (あれ!)
    手まねきしてる
    何もない (あれ!?) つまんない (あれ!?)
    今日はさよなら!
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    わたしが太陽 (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    緑の電車も (在来線!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    グルグルまわってく
    宇宙も 感星も ル-レットシアタ-
    あれ?
    Roulette Roulette

    Ooh~ Maho!
    Rollcake Sunday, sandwich Monday, depends on the feeling
    Expectations are half, odds are even, tomorrow's just begun
    Cats (Olé!) and silver grass (Olé!)
    Are beckoning
    Nothing to do (Olé!?), it's so boring (Olé!?)
    Good-bye for today!
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    I am the sun (Aye aye yah!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Like the green train (Service line!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Going in circles
    The orbit of stars and planets is a roulette theatre
    Olé?

  15. #15
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Some Important News (whispered) would be a good idea, as long as they are not obvious enough for Kael with his fleet of X-Wings to come and ruin the day. I was supposing Jaina would have some trusted people under her (e.g. Aegwynn), but perhaps it's all a Byzantine intrigue with Jaina playing the people against the other power players in court and this thing only exists in my head. Too much excitement*.

    *from the special red paint it's a small step to Byzantine emperors.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  16. #16
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    If Kael came along with his army of X-wings, Cairne could always summon up a druidic sort of Death Star. Except they would call it Nature's Wrath or something, and it would be made of wood and covered in mystical symbols :D And be powered with wisps stolen from them darn elves.

    AAAAND we have the elusive shirtless Thrall. I'm torn between emoting this with or

    Okay, part of this text is spoiler marked, not because it gives anything away but because I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it or not.

    (I am scared of writing romance XP The fact that they've been pretty much only practical about this setup until now made it easier, but here we gooo...)



    The room was simple, unsurprisingly. Rounded, with no real corners, just like orcs preferred their buildings. There were only a few pieces of furniture, a couple of animal skins on the sand colored floor. A brownish tapestry with some pattern adorned the wall, and threads of beads and various small items hung on either side of it. Gifts from the tauren and Darkspears most certainly, but Jaina’s first impression was too brief to allow for details.

    Having been too forceful as she cast the teleportation spell she stumbled on her feet but quickly regained her balance, taking in the entire room in a flash. The image of Orgrim Doomhammer’s armor resting on a stand swept right into her mind.

    And then finally seeing Thrall, watching her with his fleshy eyebrows raised, barefoot and bare-chested – oops – but luckily, the words were already on her lips and they momentarily swatted away the situation.

    “Kael’thas knows!”

    What?”

    He threw his rune aside. It landed on his bed and bounced on the blanket, forgotten as Thrall and Jaina met in the middle of the floor. Without even considering it she sent her rune the same way as his. Neither of them thought twice of it, not while she told him about the visit from the elf prince.

    No guards barged in, called by his initial snarl – despite his surprise, he managed to keep his voice low. Jaina thought little of that for the moment, but later she would feel relieved that she had not been discovered in his quarters at that time. Not that she would have been harmed, indeed the orcs might not have thought too much about it – apart from thinking their Warchief’s taste in women rather odd, as they would continue to do. A word from Thrall would have stopped them from spreading this news, too. But it certainly would not have made the situation any less embarrassing, once the anger settled.

    Thrall listened to her tale mostly in silence, though his lips drew away from his fangs, and a snorting growl rose from his throat when she – after a moment’s hesitation – recounted Kael’thas leaving threat.

    “They must have used scrying spells while we were talking on the butte,” Jaina said as she finished the story, gritting her teeth. “And if he knows, then who else does?”

    “Indeed. We better bring more guards to the meeting. Curses!” Thrall gave proof of his orcish heritage and not his human upbringing by stomping his foot – even if Jaina had not known that this was a legitimate expression for anger to his people, the movement was too powerful to seem childish. “I see we believed too much in the safety of the butte being tall.”

    “No, I should have sensed spying magic if it got too close,” Jaina said, placing her hand on his bare arm to calm him. “Judging by what he said, his spies could not have heard us speak, only watched. They cannot know the details.”

    Thrall’s bulging muscles relaxed just a fraction, and he shook his head.

    “Still, I see we were foolish,” he said.

    “Yes,” Jaina agreed with a grim nod. “But they could not spy on us in here. Such spells can’t see through walls without notice, it takes too much power.”

    “If you say so, then I believe it.” Sighing, he allowed his tension to settle down – but he still frowned as he went on, watching her. Gingerly he plucked her hand from his arm, holding it. “I will not let this shake my resolve.”

    Although he did not say it, she could read it in his eyes. No man, no woman or demon is going to tell me who I can and cannot marry.

    Jaina nodded agreement, both to his spoken and silent words.

    “Neither will I,” she said. “I will call mages I trust to aid my guards.”

    “And I shamans. If the prince wishes to cause trouble, he will find it a bloody challenge.” He shook his head with a snarl, the sound and motion worthy of a ferocious beast. His loose, black hair only made that image stronger – no longer trapped in braids it looked very much like a mane framing his face.

    Watching him now, with the graceful elf prince fresh in mind, Thrall seemed even bulkier and darker than usual to Jaina. A towering giant, normally hidden scars crisscrossing his green skin in tears and ridges, and she only knew where he had gained a fraction of them. Many of the scars on her own body were from those few, insane weeks they had fought together.

    Memories on their skin.

    With the surprise and anger settled in plans, the scope of their current circumstances struck them both at just about the same time. Jaina cleared her throat, and as she did, Thrall cast his gaze about before letting it return to her face.

    “I apologize,” she said, “perhaps I acted a little quick, but I felt that I had to tell you about Kael’thas.”

    Thrall shook his head.

    “No,” he said. “You surprised me, but I would have wanted to know immediately. This is too serious to let wait.”

    “Very well. I should, really-” She started to turn away.

    It was just the slightest squeeze of her hand.

    Jaina stopped, and looked around to meet Thrall’s gaze.

    “I would feel better knowing you were away from nightly visitors,” he said. When she opened her mouth to speak, he added, “I fully believe you could deal with a threat. However, should the elf prince have something else to add, I would like to let him hear my thoughts on the matter as well as yours.”

    A runaway thought toyed with the question of how exactly the well-expressed Warchief would tell prince Kael’thas to go to hell. It drowned, however, in the realization that Thrall asked her to stay with him.

    He must have read something in her eyes, because he actually winced and held up his other hand.

    “No, I’m not saying that… hm, what he had the audacity to accuse you, us, of, is not what I mean.”

    For a moment he looked away, and she stood there, mute. Finally he turned back to her.

    “We left that subject on the first day. Perhaps it was a mistake, since we never returned to it.” Thrall rubbed his fingertips against his scalp. Embarrassment did not suit him at all – utterly bizarre. Looking up at him, Jaina clenched her teeth. Her fingers brushed against his in a brief squeeze.

    They had both known since day one that it had to be spoken of sooner or later, and for all her thinking about it, she could find no words now.

    Thrall decisively shook his head and looked her in the eyes.

    “I’m not, and I won’t ask of you to share my bed in that sense, Jaina. It’s something you have to be absolutely certain of.”

    She had not blushed in years, and she didn’t do so now either. It was, however, the closest to it she had come in quite some time. Just his stoic worry for her welfare sent a whispering thrill through her. One small, deeply buried part of her laughed hysterically at the sheer absurdity of the situation.

    Them, two of the most important leaders in the world, desperately trying to weave through a painfully awkward subject – and neither of them fully dressed. There were apparently things that not even facing down demons could prepare you for.

    Watching him watching her like that – three hundred pounds of brutal strength and intelligence as sharp as a sword, coupled with magical prowess to match her own power, and all of it gazing at her with blue eyes filled with honest concern – it struck her just how wildly in love with him she really was.

    Not an emotion proper for a sorceress or a woman of her status. Kael’thas, and all who agreed with him, would certainly condemn her doubly for it. Knowing that only made the feeling sweeter, when it already made her heart race – and seeing Thrall so utterly mortified threatened to break the same heart. It was far more than his pride should have to bear.

    Reaching out with her free hand she touched his trunk-like neck, digging her fingers into the thick black hair spilling over his shoulder.

    “I won’t lie to you and claim that the thought of it doesn’t make me nervous,” she murmured. “But I truly wish to share your bed.” One corner of her lips stretched slightly. “If you’ll have me.”

    The last was a weak attempt to ease the tension, coaxed by that buried, laughing part of her – but Thrall softly snorted in reply.

    “You must understand,” he said, and for the first time ever his huge hand brushed against her cheek, “it’s not as if I don’t want you here.”

    Save that orcish kind of a kiss at the end of their last meeting, there had always been a certain cautiousness about the way he touched her. There was still a lightness about it, his green skin, hardened by tools of war stroking her face.

    “I’m- most relieved you do,” Jaina said, and the joke would have been so much better if her wits had still been with her and not dancing around the ceiling.

    His lips twitched.

    “Good,” he said, yet his tone became more serious as he continued. “But no, rest assured. Not even four days from now, not until you don’t feel nervous anymore.”

    There was a senseless stitch of regret for telling him about her anxiety, but at the same time she felt more than grateful for his assurances. Crossing this conversational bridge lifted a rock from her heart, and judging by the look on his face he felt the same.

    Part of her wondered about his experience in this particular subject, but she certainly did not have gall enough bring that up. Although, that begged the question, really… because he had half a country that doubtlessly would throw themselves around his neck if he just looked at them right, but he was certainly not the kind to make use of his status in such ways.

    She shook off those thoughts and touched his hand on her cheek. He had opened the doors with his honesty, and this invitation to confess the truth she could not squander even when it churned her stomach.

    “There’s something I should have brought up as well, since we’re speaking of these things.” She looked away briefly, and his hand sunk from her face to her shoulder. Taking in deep breath Jaina steeled herself and faced him again. “I’m not a maiden.”

    He raised a hairless eyebrow. It was only a brief moment, but the answer seemed, to her, to take forever.

    “True,” he finally said. “That is something vital to humans, isn’t it?”

    Jaina’s shoulders fell in relief, and she nodded.

    “Not absolutely vital perhaps,” she said, “but very important. For women, at least.”

    She could have said a lot about double standards and slanted philosophies, but she felt little interest for her own culture now that such an important subject in it had been pushed aside. Even more distracting, how as he nodded understanding, a flash in his eyes said that he recalled a certain someone who had been an unwilling mistress.

    Seeing that, Jaina clenched her teeth hard and touched his arm. Fool, fool, why hadn’t she realized what kind of memories those words would summon?

    “We are a warrior race, after all,” Thrall said, pulling himself together. “There’s pressure of loved ones going to battle, and relief of returning alive, that sometimes does not allow for the time to do things properly.”

    Although carefully, Jaina relaxed at his calm and his words.

    “Still, in many ways your people value family more deeply than we do,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how you would react.”

    He shook his head.

    “Think nothing of it. Spoiler: Either way, I would be a hypocrite to judge you.”

    Well, that answered that unspoken question… she watched his serious expression, wondering when he had found the time, and who. A brief, instinctual pinprick of jealousy, one she acknowledged and then mentally crushed underfoot. She would not be a hypocrite, either. They were both adults. People of all races had relationships, both long and brief ones. True that he had never told her of any lover, but she had not told him before either – for what reason would they, until now?

    The only thing she had a right to worry about, would be a furious orc woman. Jaina wasn’t sure what that prospect made her feel.

    What Thrall said next caught her off guard, when it should not have done so considering the direction her thoughts had headed.


    “But,” he said, voice suddenly softer. “Who, Arthas?”

    Jaina winced, feeling his fingers clench the tiniest bit as she did. Slowly, she nodded.

    “He…”

    She fell silent, wanted to say that Arthas had been a good man once, that he had been kind and meant well but she still should have known better. However, the way Thrall watched her said that she had no need to explain herself or excuse her choices. There truly was no judgment in his eyes, only knowledge of what she had lost. In the silence, his gaze held her.

    Swallowing hard, Jaina shook her head.

    “I made a mistake,” she said, her voice not coming out the way she had planned.

    All the wrong voice, as it turned out, because the calm look in Thrall’s eyes shattered when he frowned. Jaina blinked at the sudden suspicion, then realized just what little she had said, in such a vulnerable tone, may be misinterpreted as. She quickly shook her head again, and spoke with proper strength.

    “No, no. He didn’t force me. Both of us were just young and stupid.”

    The way his shoulders sunk showed just how much he had tensed in that instant.

    “Then past is past, in my eyes,” he murmured.

    He made no threats as to what he would have done if Arthas had forced her. It wasn’t needed – and they both knew what she herself was able to accomplish. His pick of words, and the growl hiding behind them, were enough. Even mighty sorceresses don’t necessarily have to fight alone.

    The memories were bitter, but the prince was a ghost inside her head, and Thrall was real.

    “Come a little closer,” Jaina said, making a small motion towards herself.

    Did the Warchief ever receive an order? But he obeyed, watching her face as he bent forwards. Jaina rose up on her tiptoes to meet him, and brushed her forehead against his. A moment, a breath, then he straightened up and drew her close.

    That massive, green chest was literally like a warm wall of muscles and pressing her hands against him Jaina could feel his pulse through her fingertips. Kael’thas’ actions and the memory of Arthas brought this about, but she no longer thought of either of them. Only this, Thrall’s warmth, his heartbeat, and a faint smell of smoke and metal on his skin.

    His grip relaxed after a brief silence, and she leant backwards against his arms to meet his gaze.

    “I’ll stay,” she said. “I trust you.”

    Perhaps the words weren’t necessary, but she wanted to speak them out.

    “I’m glad,” he said, and something about his soft tone made her suck in her lower lip. But he didn’t see that.

    Turning around, Thrall bent down and collected the two runes from where they had been thrown onto the bed. In his grip one of the stones glowed intensively, until he put them both on the closest table by the wall.

    The magical light made Jaina smile in such a way that she felt compelled to hide her mouth behind one hand. Neither of them commented.

    Seeing as Thrall was looking away for a moment, she used that opportunity to shake off her morning coat. No, it should not have felt as if it was an opportunity, not when they had such plans, not when they had talked like this. Yet the situation was still so new, vulnerable against a feeling of awkwardness.

    All her moving around had long since opened the morning coat at the front, and now she let it slide off her shoulders. Catching it in her hands she brought it up in front of her and folded it. Halfway through the motions she felt Thrall’s gaze back on her, but she steeled herself against any sense of discomfort. After just a moment’s hesitation she dropped the bundle at the foot of the bed. Whether or not it fell down during the night, she couldn’t be bothered to care at that point.

    They didn’t speak, guarded against the embarrassment as if it were a vicious monster that could slaughter both of them if a single word gave away their position. So it was in silence that Thrall sat down on the bed and moved closer to the wall to give her space, and she laid down beside him.

    The bed felt rather hard beneath her, but the cloth of the mattress, and the blanket he pulled up over both of them, were soft.

    Some shuffling followed, both of them trying to figure out what exactly this was supposed to be. But it felt easier then, once they had actually laid down, and finally Jaina relaxed with her head on his shoulder. It struck her then that she had no idea whether there were other things than just kisses that diverged human and orc preferences in situations such as this. Yet Thrall must be aware of that possibility as well. Still, she watched his face, listened to his breath for the slightest sign as she snaked one arm around his neck. Black locks of hair tickled against her arm, and she buried her fingers in them.

    The only reaction was a smile, and Thrall closed the embrace with his free arm.

    “Sleep well,” he murmured.

    Although Jaina mumbled something in agreement and closed her eyes, she was fully aware that it would probably take quite a while until either of them fell asleep. Inability to sleep actually did not feel like such a bad thing, for once.

    She recalled an old poem where a woman described her lover’s arms as a fort. It had stuck in Jaina’s mind mainly because the overly flowery language turned the text ridiculous rather than romantic. Lying beside Thrall, however, she reflected that there was some truth in those verses after all, although this kind of man certainly had not been on the author’s mind. Stretched over her waist and bending to rest against the mattress behind her, his thick arm definitely brought a wall to mind – not to hide behind, as in the poem, but in plain practicality.

    As she let her tired body sink further against Thrall’s warm bulk, she spared a thought for the elf prince whose provocation had inadvertently brought her here. She held back a snort, squeezing Thrall’s neck instead. His big fingertips rubbed against her back in silent reply, then relaxed again.

    Had she known what Kael’thas was doing right then, in his fury, she would have become physically ill both at his actions and at the knowledge that once, she had regarded him as a good friend.




    About the spoiler-marked stuff... I'm weighing between keeping it, or let it be heavily implied throughout that Thrall is a virgin.

    *crickets chirp*

    Oh COME ON. Who, when, where and how would he EVER have had the time? And that's disregarding the fact that he doesn't seem the type to just have a fling. You know it makes sense :D
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  17. #17
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Ok, that was in parts hilarious melodrama. I'd like to think my picturing it in black and white (sometimes Thrall was Gregory Peck and Jaina Ingrid Bergmann) and not having slept sufficiently for a few days had nothing to do with it.

    He may give the impression he's not the type to have a fling, but sometimes impressions are dead wrong. Getting a bit more serious, most of it read as if they were nervous because of the race difference, even before Thrall reveals he's a man-slut. So going for the "might be a virgin" may not work out that well.

    Curses!” Thrall gave proof of his orcish heritage and not his human upbringing by stomping his foot
    You might want to rephrase that; perhaps something like "His orcish heritage overpowering his human upbringing, Thrall stomped his foot" or putting first the Thrall stomped his foot part. The original reads in a sense as "here Thrall does his orcish thing" whereas it might be better as "Thrall does this thing; not weird cause it's orcish". Also, he says "Curses!". Wee!

    “Yes,” Jaina agreed with a grim nod. “But they could not spy on us in here. Such spells can’t see through walls without notice, it takes too much power.”

    “If you say so, then I believe it.”
    Doesn't Thrall know this stuff? He's got Far Sight ;)

    Watching him watching her like that – three hundred pounds of brutal strength and intelligence as sharp as a sword, coupled with magical prowess to match her own power, and all of it gazing at her with blue eyes filled with honest concern – it struck her just how wildly in love with him she really was.
    I like that this begins as "He's a warmachine!" and ends "and he cares for me!". Heh.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  18. #18
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Hah XD But was it good or bad hilarious melodrama, because I do love me some of that... in its right place (mmm, The Saga of Gösta Berling...).

    I think I'm gonna have to take a poll on Thrall's virginity.
    AAAND my linguistic teacher said that each day, we have the chance to speak a sentence that nobody has ever said before. I believe I just filled my quota :D
    Anyway, sis and my best friend adored the idea of him being a virgin, I'm torn, and you seem to oppose it. This shall have to be settled with... MORTAL KOMBAT!

    Well, it was either "Curses!" or "Goddamn it!" or any variation, and he's the soft-spoken one XD As for your suggestions I'll make tweaks :)

    And yes, they're nervous because of the race differences and the fact that this is far more intimate than they have ever gone together before (even if it's still innocent). Maybe I oughta push that angle better.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  19. #19
    マホの探偵 Cless Alvein's Avatar
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    You heavily suggested in the first part that he had a deep and intimate relationship with this "Tari" orc woman... so I had already established in my mind that Thrall was not a virgin - all the awkwardness that appeared, I attributed to him being head-over-heels about Jaina and the racial barrier.

    But I dunno that much about what's canon in the Warcraft universe. Is Tari established as not having that kind of relationship with Thrall?
    ロウレット ロウレット

    ウ~ マホッ!
    ロ-ルケ-キサンデ- サンドイッチマンデ- 気分次第でいい
    期待半分 率イ-ブン 明日はこれから
    ネコとか (あれ!) すすきが (あれ!)
    手まねきしてる
    何もない (あれ!?) つまんない (あれ!?)
    今日はさよなら!
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    わたしが太陽 (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    緑の電車も (在来線!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    グルグルまわってく
    宇宙も 感星も ル-レットシアタ-
    あれ?
    Roulette Roulette

    Ooh~ Maho!
    Rollcake Sunday, sandwich Monday, depends on the feeling
    Expectations are half, odds are even, tomorrow's just begun
    Cats (Olé!) and silver grass (Olé!)
    Are beckoning
    Nothing to do (Olé!?), it's so boring (Olé!?)
    Good-bye for today!
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    I am the sun (Aye aye yah!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Like the green train (Service line!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Going in circles
    The orbit of stars and planets is a roulette theatre
    Olé?

  20. #20
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Tari (Taretha Foxton) was his human surrogate-sister who helped him escape his enslavement by lord Blackmoore in Thrall's youth. (Also the only one who, at age FIVE, was smart enough to say "Uhm, people, that orc child... he doesn't have any teeth yet, I don't think he can eat meat. Why don't you give him milk instead?" or they would have all let baby!Thrall starve to death out of plain STUPID.)
    And she's the only reason Thrall ever cried in his life :( And then things broke. A lot.

    It's not your fault for not knowing that, I see I may have assumed too much as apparent when it's not, within all this lore, and it's good that you point this out :) I'll go back and tweak the first chapter.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  21. #21
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    *note to self* Whoever wrote that plot point hasn't reared a child. Hopefully.
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  22. #22
    マホの探偵 Cless Alvein's Avatar
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    That certainly explains why Thrall is not racist. They stole a plot point from every single anime ever.
    ロウレット ロウレット

    ウ~ マホッ!
    ロ-ルケ-キサンデ- サンドイッチマンデ- 気分次第でいい
    期待半分 率イ-ブン 明日はこれから
    ネコとか (あれ!) すすきが (あれ!)
    手まねきしてる
    何もない (あれ!?) つまんない (あれ!?)
    今日はさよなら!
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    わたしが太陽 (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    緑の電車も (在来線!)
    まわるまわってく (アイ ヤイ ヤ!)
    グルグルまわってく
    宇宙も 感星も ル-レットシアタ-
    あれ?
    Roulette Roulette

    Ooh~ Maho!
    Rollcake Sunday, sandwich Monday, depends on the feeling
    Expectations are half, odds are even, tomorrow's just begun
    Cats (Olé!) and silver grass (Olé!)
    Are beckoning
    Nothing to do (Olé!?), it's so boring (Olé!?)
    Good-bye for today!
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    I am the sun (Aye aye yah!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Like the green train (Service line!)
    Going 'round and 'round (Aye aye yah!)
    Going in circles
    The orbit of stars and planets is a roulette theatre
    Olé?

  23. #23
    (Not Actually Cool) GG Crono's Avatar
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    I apologize for not reading this earlier. That said, it's a very good read. I've not played WoW, and the only Warcraft game I've played is III, but I have beaten that. The characterization is very well done, and as always, your prose is nigh-flawless. I do hope to see a continuation soon.

  24. #24
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Thanks, GG :)

    Also, watching the new episode of "Azerothian Supervillains" put quite a spin on the latest chapter, I must say XD
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  25. #25
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    Aw, and here was I hoping for a new chapter. (j/k, j/k. Don't press your writer, kids. Otherwise you get the equivalent of a-book-a-year writer, and how many Balzacs do you think we have?)
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  26. #26
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Ask and ye shall recieve!
    Although it's not a full chapter, I'm still working on the ending of it.

    Balzac? Try Enid Mary Blyton, one book a week XD Aka "It's easy, just throw in a picnic basket to fill up space!"

    Uh-oh... SPARTACUS REFERENCE AHEAD :D And I don't mean that every grunt stands up and shouts "I'm the Warchief" while Blackmoore and his goons looks on in bafflement, while Thrall breaks down crying because they won't let him give himself up and save all of them from crucifixion and whaaaa that's so saaad ;____; (Incidentally, said to be the moment in movie history where male viewers most often cries. I believe Spoiler: the death of Bambi's mum is the second one.)

    Spoiler: Thrall: "I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!"
    Random orc woman (which doesn't really work because he's paired up with Jaina here, dammit!): "Neither am I."

    Why do I remember that kind of thing when it was ten years since that ONE time I saw that movie? Eh, whatever. I remember cheat codes for Kid Icarus, too (although they don't work in the Wii version :( ).

    Ahem.

    Okay, let's make the Warchief a bit more of a mortal man, shall we?



    It happened, sometimes, that Aedelas Blackmoore decided that his near-adult “pet” had done well enough to deserve a certain kind of reward. At those times, in the evening light a couple of guards brought one or another young orc woman to Thrall’s cell, her teeth clenched so hard that her jaw might have broken.

    The first time, he didn’t understand until he saw the smirks on the guards’ faces as they pushed that first woman inside, locked the door and walked away.

    He couldn’t even now put into words how disgusting it made him feel, what they expected him to do and be grateful of.

    What ever really happened was that he got a rare occasion of speaking with one of his own kind in peace. Before that ever happened though, he had to convince that tense woman – a new one each time – that he really had no intention of touching her.

    They did all believe him, finally, but he still saw their cautious eyes, ever waiting to be asked anyway. He never did.

    He told Jaina of this in the early morning, when crisp light filtered through the curtains covering the windows. She watched him all the while, a gaze he met even as it grew unbearably pained. Her hand moved, fumbling over his jaw line and cheek, seeking something that could make the memories go away when both of them knew that nothing would ever, ever do that.

    It was never his intention to cause her pain, but he needed her to know. Seeing what it did to her filled his chest with a swelling feeling, a torturous brew of regret and sadness and gratitude for her silence, her clumsy caress, the empathy – not pity, and that difference meant the world – in her eyes.

    Never had he spoken much about his youth, not with anyone – and never, ever about this. The disgust was still there, but speaking of it with Jaina eased the memories. An act of cleansing, of sorts, to honor those women who had been meant for abuse. It got easier then, to recall not only their thin lips and tense bodies, but the careful relief when they understood that he really had no intention to stand up from his corner and grab their wrists.

    But the most painful thing to admit was that it hadn’t been as easy as it should have been, to leave those women in peace. He had to battle with himself, against that desperate wish for a touch that wasn’t a tear or blow. Every time guarding his eyes not to look at the woman sitting there at the other side of the cell in a simple, too thin dress, so agonizingly close. Spirits knew if he had been strong enough if any of them had reached out to touch him, even innocently.

    In his darkest moments he wondered if he controlled himself only because he knew that Blackmoore expected him to be grateful, but he could not be. In his brightest, he knew it was because Tari would have despised him, and he was a better person than that. Often, though, the darker moments were more plentiful than the bright.

    These occasions were thankfully rare, because the admiral seldom felt kind at that point in time, his drinking having taken over more and more. So there were only a handful of orc women who this happened to – although Thrall never did hurt them, they still had to bear the fear of being abused before he convinced them otherwise. Not all of them survived the battle for freedom. But if they lived, they remembered well that night spent in a cell with the future Warchief, speaking in low voices until both of them fell asleep at opposite sides of the prison.

    It filled him with a sense of fascination, how after the camps they always seemed to find those neigh nonexistent moments when he was not in the middle of preparing troops, arranging the journey westwards, in battle, or deep in planning with Drek’thar and everyone else.

    How closely had they watched him, waiting for a chance? And were they aware of each other, since only one voice murmured with the guards outside his tent, and only one pair of feet sounded against the ground at any time?

    “I wanted to say thank you, Warchief, although I don’t know if you remember me.”

    They all said similar things, one way or another. He did remember all of them.

    Few as they were he had managed to keep a distant track of them – most had mates by now, all of them far away. One fought her way into the Kor’kron Elite, and died on Hyjal.

    To him, and most probably for her as well, it was only him being as honest with Jaina as she had been the night before, when confessing that she had been Arthas’ lover. He didn’t really realize that opening up to her like this was an act of seduction for both of them.

    Silence settled as he stopped talking. Just watching each other, her with her head on his arm, each shadow on her face soft in the first light of dawn.

    “I don’t want people thinking you forced me to anything,” Jaina finally murmured, her thumb brushing against his cheek. “It’s not fair to you.”

    He pushed himself up a little to be able to shake his head.

    “Some will think it no matter what,” he said, laying back. “Our allies will understand that I didn’t. The only thing I care about in this matter, is that you don’t feel pressured.”

    “No, no, no…”

    As if to make a point she shifted, shuffling closer. Spirits, her night dress did nothing to keep the warmth of her body away from his skin, no more than it had done during the night. Even now he had no idea how much, or little, sleep he had gotten. The smell of her hair filled his nostrils, and blond strands flitted against his thick skin when she moved. He could hardly believe that he could feel the tiny brush, as light as it was. The warmth, also, because he knew he was warmer than her. Her body heat too seemed so much more soft and delicate.

    The cell was so fresh in mind it seared into his thoughts, but he wrestled it aside with an ease that surprised him. No, this was nothing like that, it may as well have been another world entirely. How strange it was, really. When he had oh so secretly thought of Jaina before she proposed, and even after, he had never dreamed that she would really be able to so completely relax against him as she had in the night.

    This wasn’t relaxing, though. She moved with determination, and the arm around his neck was strong – loudly arguing against the panicked voice in the back of his head that feared that she was so much more frail than she really was. No, nowhere near his own strength or even that of a regular woman of his race, but far from weak.

    His own arm followed her motion, resting against her back as she settled and spoke. It took a couple of words to pull him out of his stupor.

    “Thinking back on your initial reaction to the proposal, I almost feel like I’m the one pressuring you,” she said, smile widening to a grin when he stared at her for a moment before chuckling.

    Loosening up she drew her arm back, splaying her fingers against his chest as if for support. They too, seemed so small and soft, he could hardly think of anything else for a moment.

    “Are you worried about what Vol’jin and everyone else will say?” she asked suddenly, straightening slightly.

    The question was a little surprising, but they had been speaking their allies. Thrall still found himself begrudging the return to practicalities, but accepted it.

    “I have sent for Drek’thar… and a message for my grandmother, saying I will have important news for her soon.” He paused, then shook his head with a sigh. “I don’t think that many will like it, initially. Given time, though…” He gave his head another shake, looking at her. All those things he would face in time, and worrying would do no good. “What of your side?”

    “To be honest, Aegwynn made a correct guess last night when I discussed Kael’thas before coming here,” Jaina said.

    She was silent for a little while. He waited, just humming briefly in reply to her revelation about the old sorceress. It did not bother him much if the former Guardian had found out the truth, knowing well how Jaina trusted that woman.

    Finally, Jaina spoke again.

    “Tandred…” She stopped and sighed. “I don’t know what he will say. I’m composing letters in my head all the time.” Still speaking, she bowed her head beneath his chin. “In a way I really want him to know the truth about this, but I’m not sure if he could handle it.”

    Thrall let out a deep breath, reaching out with his other hand to touch her shoulder as he often did. In this, he could not speak, could not help her. When it came to the last shreds of her family there was too much guilt for him to act, no matter that she did not blame him.

    “He’s not like father, he isn’t, but I just don’t know,” Jaina murmured. “I can’t brave a guess of his reaction. Light, I want him to accept it.”

    Feeling her hand ball against his chest, he reached down and enclosed her fist in his. There, her fingers relaxed at least a fraction.

    She exhaled slowly, breath flowing down between them.

    “It will hurt if he doesn’t accept it, but if so, then so be it,” she said, resolve returning to her voice. “Kul Tiras is as far away as everything else.”

    You chose an orc over your own kin again.

    “You’ve always been stronger than you should have had to be,” he murmured.

    “Look who’s talking…”

    Her half-hearted mumble faltered when he shook his head and rolled over fully on his side, letting go of her hand to reach around her back. It was a gamble of sorts, and he took it in the terse moment, even when pressing her so close to him, and then just staying right there, was nearly unbearable. But no, not before Jaina said it was fine, not a step further until then. Her calm and touches now only proved that she trusted him.

    “Should you need support, you know where to find it.” He was quite surprised at how composed his voice sounded.

    Only after a moment did she reply, leaning her forehead against his chin. It was enough to take his breath away too. Just a murmur, and then she snaked her soft arms around his neck again. Right then he really wanted to ignore everything duty had to call him with, and just remain where he was instead of returning to his daily role as Warchief. He would not disregard his obligations, of course, but he wanted to.

    ***

    In the Valley of Spirits, a portal opened.

    The grunts standing by the official landing point of this mage spell looked up, eying the robed troll woman stepping through and onto the wooden plateau. A male orc in full armor followed, but he moved strangely slow, half turned and with his arm lingering inside the hole in the air. The guards who stood well enough to see through the portal caught a glance of rolling green hills and trees, but there were a lot of orcs on the other side, blocking the view.

    Orcs that did not have green skin.

    The plated orc moved his arm closer, supporting the woman carefully stepping through the portal. Long, grey hair framed her wrinkled, brown skinned face, and she squinted at the world around her with a curious hunger hampered with her obviously bad eyesight. Although she hunched slightly, every move was driven by determination.

    With orcish gentleness the warrior supported her steps further away, as more orcs with the uncorrupted, brown skin color entered Orgrimmar. A bench stood by the edge of the plateau, for those who wanted to sit and look across the valley and listen to the trickling water. The old orc woman sat down when helped to it, but she kept gazing about without a hint of exhaust.

    The grunts stared, until the warrior looked around at them and spoke.

    “Tell the Warchief that his grandmother has arrived.”

    The rumor spread like wildfire through the city. By the time that Thrall reached the valley, not even remembering the work he simply abandoned to come to meet her, the path was crowded. As soon as people noticed the Kor’kron Elites, however, they quickly moved aside to make way for the Warchief. Many even stepped into the shallow lake to get out of the way.

    Greatmother Geyah stood up as Thrall climbed the stairs to the plateau, hearing and seeing well enough to recognize him despite her ailing senses.

    “Go’el,” she said in her warm, rough voice.

    “Grandmother.”

    He took her thin hands into his young, strong ones, staring down at her with a great mixture of emotions. As much as his chest swelled with joy at seeing her again, concern muddled the surprise.

    “Are you well enough to come here?” he asked, muttering to her in a low voice.

    At that, she snorted.

    “Nonsense,” she said. “I’m not that sick.”

    Yet.

    She was far from healthy, they both knew it, and even a journey supported by magic could not be good for her. But she gazed up at him through the mist hanging over her sight, scowl bespeaking only resolve. The spirits flocked around the two of them, whispering their warm welcome so fervently that wisps of the two orcs’ hair fluttered without aid of the wind.

    “Show me your city,” Geyah said.

    Nodding, he bent down and picked her up into his arms. Well enough if she decided that she was fit to travel through magical portals, but he would not have her walk through Orgrimmar. She scowled at him for a moment, but that had eased up by the time he reached the bottom of the stair.

    In the back of his mind he noted that she, unsurprisingly, weighed a good deal more than Jaina. Not that it bothered him, but the thought was difficult to deal with and so he pushed it aside.

    “What of the Mag’har?” he asked.

    The crowd spread out to make way for him, the Elites, and the handful of Mag’har warriors who also had entered through the portal. At a sideway nod, his guards fanned out not to block the old woman’s sight.

    “They can do without me for a day,” Geyah replied, sounding somewhat distracted as she threw her gaze all around them. Then she looked straight up at him, smiling. “Garrosh can take care of things, now.”

    Thrall breathed in deeply, this simple comment sweeping over him like a warm wave. It was good to hear of Grom’s legacy.

    They reached the end of the Valley of Spirits, where the path winded precariously along the cliff, high above the city itself. Here he stopped, and the guards moved aside so that the view laid open to Geyah.

    “This is Orgrimmar,” Thrall said.

    She probably could not see much more of the city than blurred outlines and colors, but that was enough to let her understand the size of the place, and the great amount of inhabitants – orcs and otherwise. She didn’t say a word, but the intake of breath bespoke her feelings.

    Looking at the city his people had constructed always did fill Thrall with a sense of pride, but since he saw it everyday it had begun to turn into a commonplace feeling. Now it was renewed, and he gazed upon the rooftops as if for the first time, lips stretching wide.

    After a little while he turned and continued. He could have gone straight to Grommash Hold from there, but instead he carefully walked over the rope bridge connecting the cliff path with the flight tower, and made his way down to the ground level. From the Valley of Strength he took the path towards and through the Drag.

    As he walked, an unusual hush fell over Orgrimmar. People lined the streets, stretching and straining to catch a glimpse of the revered grandmother of the Warchief. Not cheering, one did not greet an aged, spiritual leader with cheers, but with smiles and bows.

    It was quite a long walk, and he chose to save the Valley of Honor until later, to let Geyah rest for a bit first. She would never admit it, but he saw the curiosity in her eyes muddled with exhaust.

    He only paused at one point. Walking out of the shaded Drag, he walked through another shadow and then turned as soon as they bathed in the sunlight. She squinted at the dark outline of a fat, dead tree, surely noticing that there was something odd about it. The Mag’har warriors gazed up at it too, muttering amongst themselves and the Elites.

    “It’s our monument to the demon Mannoroth’s death. Can you see his skull up there?” Thrall said.

    Her brow furrowed and she shifted in his arms, teeth bared.

    “If ever I wished my eyesight was better again,” she growled, her voice deep inside her throat. Then she settled back, shaking her head. “I can’t see it, but I believe you when you say it’s there.”

    He considered having it taken down for her sake, but her tone was final at the last comment. Bringing the huge skull to the ground would take some time and be quite a dangerous project, too. She would probably only see it as a unnecessary endeavor.

    Neither of them commented, but Grom, and his son, was on both their minds as Thrall continued into the hold named after the hero who killed Mannoroth.

    The Warchief gave an order for the Mag’har to be given accommodations and to be shown anywhere they wanted to go inside Orgrimmar. He also called for food to be brought to his room, making it clear that he would speak with his grandmother alone. She didn’t make a comment, but he noticed her gratefully sag against his chest plate as he slowly climbed the stairs to his own quarters.

    After closing the door, he set her down on the softest rug on the floor before sitting down before her. Now that they were alone, she actually allowed her fatigue to shine through in lowered eyelids and slumping shoulders.

    “Grandmother…” he started, frowning deeply.

    “Don’t say anything foolish,” she said, looking up. The tiredness swept away under the force of her mind. “I will never regret coming here to see this. The memory will give me strength for quite some time.”

    There was a knock on the door, and two orc women entered carrying trays with meat, fruit and drink. Setting their burdens down before the Warchief and the Greatmother, they respectfully saluted and left again.

    “What is this?” Geyah asked, grasping and lifting an orange up to her face to see better.

    He had to smile, forgetting his worry for a moment. If she was well enough to be curious about a fruit, she could not be ailing as badly as he had feared.

    “There are crops and other things in this world very different from what grows on Draenor,” he said, reaching out to take the orange. “This one has to be peeled before eaten.”



    Mannoroth is a bastard (ya rly), because later on I want to have Jaina drag her bro into Orgrimmar and him going "What the HELL is that thing?!", and it's kinda ruined when the monument has already had its moment but it's kinda unavoidable here. Oh well.

    Offhand, Jaina (very possibly) has a half-belf half-sister (Christ on a cracker...), and had another older brother whose last words were something along the lines of "Father, we're being attacked by a dra-"
    Oi.
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

  27. #27
    What is this I don't even pokefreak_85's Avatar
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    I'm suddenly reminded of something a friend and I was discussing a while back.
    We were talking about movies and emotional scenes and I mentioned that when HAL 9000 is disconnected in 2001: A Space Odyssey, is kinda sad.
    So we came up with:

    How to spot a nerd.
    Normal person: I cried when bambi's mother died.
    Nerd: I cried when HAL was disconnected.

    :P

    I don't remember there being cheats in Kid Icarus.
    Codes, sure. But not cheats. (I've even got some of the codes around here, somewhere.
    My dad made maps of the castles and a special code-sheet that looks like the pause screen so you can fill in the stuff you've found. ^^
    He also made a complete, fully accurate map over the entire Metroid game using only a pen, a piece of paper and a ruler. <_<
    He used to be awesome. Now he just plays Winmine, and sometimes Tetris clones.)


    Aaaand the story.. Like I said, I can't really write proper construtive critisism, so I just read it and shut up. :P

  28. #28
    (Not Actually Cool) GG Crono's Avatar
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    I never cried at Bambi and I never saw 2001. So thbpt.

    Anyway. Good chapter, Wei. :)

  29. #29
    Double Trouble Rigmarole's Avatar
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    This should teach me to have more free time when I ask for things.

    Okay, let's make the Warchief a bit more of a mortal man, shall we?
    Okay, bring down the poor sod. Abused in his childhood, knee-jerk anti-authoritarian (he wondered if he controlled himself only...), with flawed personal security (what if these women who reached his tent were disguised ninja assassins, hm?) etc.
    You shall address the Warchief with more respect
    Someone should create a spin-off where the orcs are Meiji-era Japanese and the humans corrupting furriners. Because nothing beats an orc-made bouquet of flowers.

    More seriously, the characterisation about the Warchief's past was nice. Especially since they must be lacking psychologists at that time (not to mention the constant wars of course).

    It's good to see Aegwynn getting a nod as someone in the know (even if by accident).

    He would not disregard his obligations, of course, but he wanted to.

    Many even stepped into the shallow lake to get out of the way.
    And here's the obligatory nitpick ;) I think "of course" and "even" detract instead of emphasising. The respect Thrall gets is obvious by his followers being spontaneously mildly inconvenienced ("even" makes it sound like they'd do something more drastic) while "of course" sounds like he needs to be persuaded, because what about the public image of the Warchief? "Come on Thrally, the Warchief's got obligations, right? No staying in bed for this one, nope sir {I wonder, will he ever get up?}". He doesn't like it, but he gets up. The "of course" is acted upon, it's more than words.

    And Warchief's granny is a troll? What did you just call his granny!? XD

    Having oranges introduced is a nice bit.
    because later on I want to have Jaina drag her bro into Orgrimmar and him going "What the HELL is that thing?!",
    Why not? Then Jaina can go all u n00b on him. That's what you get when you don't visit your allies.

    Also, I bet Abba's lyricist(s) never imagined a story would have to all these lyrics of theirs. Such a succession of clichés. :P
    She sensed intelligence behind this rigmarole, but it was meaningless to her.

    ...those who regard me as effete, arrogant, distanced. [Interviewer: All of which is true, of course.] [Banville:] Of course!

  30. #30
    Alpha-Female of the RPGC Staff Weiila's Avatar
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    Yeah, shame on you, Rig. Your skills in telling the future are lacking, to say the least. Back to your trainer and rearrange that skill tree of yours. NOW!

    You shall address the Warchief with more respect
    Eh? Where did I say that? Although the mental image of Thrall dressed as a samurai and orcs harvesting rice is both hilarious and horrifying. XDD

    Anyway, glad that you liked that little dip into the past... as for the clichés, I was writing the whole grandmother thing with a slow groan wanting to escape my chest because it was just so bloody clichéd. It's only going to get worse when she demands to see Jaina, too. Bah, all these old women are so smurt. Yet, I felt it wasn't very fair to not have granny included, and she probably would have killed Thrall if he went and got married ("took a mate" UUURGH I HATE THAT PHRASE LIKE KEFKA HATES YOU) without her having a look at the lady first.

    But wait, where did I give the impression that she's a troll? O_o

    About the clichés... well, I am of the same country as ABBA, but I didn't have them in mind at all XD Where were those lyrics?
    New fanfic quote:

    "I am indeed a spy, milord, but not for the enemies of Mordor or the Master. Instead, I serve a different master, a group called the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Milord, have you ever heard of 'fanfiction'?"
    "Aye. A particularly odious form of sorcery, by all accounts."
    /.../
    "Yes. And have you heard of 'fangirls'?"
    "They are but a legend! A fearful legend, but a legend nonetheless."
    -Architeuthis of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and High Nazgul of the Ringwraiths
    From "Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: The Beginning" by Architeuthis


    Quote Originally Posted by darkling
    Orochimaru has joined the Baby-Sitter's Club.

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